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Cornell University Library 
DS 485.B89C66 1919 

3 1924 022 998 623 

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Olin/Kroch Library 



The original of tliis bool< is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

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the United States on the use of the text. 



>„ ■ MELBOURNE '■' 







S. W. COCKS, M.A. 



'9'9 ,. '( ni./.iv 


First Edition 1912 
Reprinted 1918, Second Edition 1919. 

M/ 7"^ f^ ^ 




In this brief History of Burma I have tried to give a clear 
account of what is really known of the early period, together 
with some notice of the traditions which possess historical 
interest. From the point at which the records become 
trustworthy I have endeavoured to put clearly and con- 
cisely all that the young student should know, without 
burdening his mind with unnecessary details. I hope that 
a work dealing with a country which has received so much 
attention in recent years from the traveller, artist, and 
litterateur, may not be without general interest. 

The discussion of disputed points, whether of fact or 
chronology, has-been avoided. Difierent versions of the 
Maharazawin, the Burmese Chronicles of the Kings; vary 
considerably. Generally I have accepted the dates assigned 
by Sir Arthur Phayre, to whose works I gladly acknow- 
ledge my indebtedness. In certain cases, where the Chinese 
accounts as given by Mr. Parker seem more trustworthy, 
I have preferred the dates as well as the facts given in the 
Chinese chronicles. For the later period I have relied 
mainly on Gray's Alaungpra Dynasty, the Gazetteer of British 
Burma (1880), and the Gazetteer of Upper Burma (1900). 
It is worthy of notice that Siamese chronology differs con- 
siderably from the Burmese, but the dates of the Burmese 
chronicle agree very closely with those given by European 
travellers such as Ealph Fitch and Caesar Fredericke, the 
former of whom saw the departure of the expedition 


against Ayuthia in 1587, while tte latter saw the return 
of the Burmese army from Siam in 1569 or 1570. 

The transliteration of Burmese names offers many di£S.- 
culties, and I lay no claim to consistency in this respect. 
Modern Burmese almost invariably pronounces r as y, and 
I have generally followed the modern practice, while 
retaining such stereotyped English forms as Eangoon, 
Ramri, Tharawadi. In proper names of the earlier period, 
especially those of Sanskrit or Pali derivation, I have 
generally preserved the r. The reader who bears in mind 
this fact, and the phonetic rule of the Burmese language 
that the second of two consecutive consonants is assimilated 
to the first, will have no difficulty in identifying Mintara 
with Mindaya, Daraka with Dayaka, Min Khaung with 
Min Gaung, Minkpnyo with Mingyinyo, and so on. 

My thanks are due to Mr. Maxwell Laurie, M.V.O., 
I.C.8., President of the Rangoon Municipality, for per- 
mission to copy the old prints in the possession of the 
Municipal Committee ; and to Mr. C. Duroiselle. Professor 
of Pali in the Rangoon College and Librarian of the Bernard 
Free Library, for permission to photograph the portrait of 
Mindon Min from the copy of Yule's Mission to Ava in the 
Library, as well as for other courteous help. Proofs were 
read by Mr. J. G. Covernton, M.A., F.R.N.S., Director of 
Public Instruction, Burma, of whose valuable advice and 
assistance I have gratefully availed myself ; and by Mr. Taw 
Sein Ko, M.R.A.S., Superintendent of the Archaeological 
Survey, Burma, who most generously placed at my disposal 
the results of his own extensive knowledge and researches 
in Burmese history. 

The illustrations are from photographs by Messrs. Watts 

& Skeen, Rangoon. 


Meiktila, Upper Burma, 1910. 


In this edition the original work has been carefully revised 
and in great part re-written. In the earlier portion, 
Chapters I. to III., and in the later portion. Chapters XIII. 
to XXII., there have been numerous excisions of unnecessary 
detail, some minor corrections of fact, and some modi- 
fications of language for the sake of clearness and simplicity. 
The history of the middle period, from the downfall of the 
Pagan monarchy to the rise of Alaungpaya, has been 
entirely re-written and condensed from fourteen chapters 
to nine. The language has been simplified, and though 
nothing essential has been omitted, a mass of detail has 
been sacrificed with the object of making a very diflicnlt 
and confused period intelligible. 

S. W. C 

Rangoon, November, 1918. 


chapter pa8b 

Introduction 1 

I. To THE Fall of the Pbome Monabchy 9 

II. Thaton and Peqit - 14 

III. The Pagan Monarchy 15 

IV. Downfall of the Pagan Monarchy 24 
V. The Period of Shan Dominion- 26 

VI. The Kingdoms of Ava and Pegu 32 

Vtl. Origin of the Taungu Dynasty 35 

VIII. Period of the Chinese and Shan Wars 37 

IX. The TAtTNOir Dynasty in Pegu 40 

X. The Reign of Bayin Naung 47 

XI. Break-itp of Bayin Naung's Empiee 52 

XII. Temporary Restoration of the Empire 56 

XIII. Rise of Alatjnopaya 61 

XIV. Alaungpaya Master of Pegu 66 
XV. The Alaungpaya Dynasty 72 

XVI. The Alaungpaya Dynasty (continued) 83 

XVII. Reign of Bodawpaya 87 

XVIII. Reign of Bagyidaw 99 

XIX. From the Treaty of Yandabo to the Acces- 
sion OF Tharawadi Min 115 

XX. Thabawadi Min and Pagan Min 118 



XXI. MiNDON MiN - 128 

XXII. Ebign op This aw. The Bbitish Anjstexation 136 

XXIII. Abakan 146 

XXIV. Society and Government under the Alatjng- 

PAYA Dynasty 153 

Chronological Table of Chief Events 163 

Bibliography - 165 

Genealogical Table of the Alaungpaya Dynasty 145 

Index 167 

Map of Burma at end of Volume 


Burma as a British, province extends from 10° to 28° of 
north latitude, and at its widest point from about 92° to 
101° of east longitude. It includes the territories known 
in former ' times as Burma, Arakan, Pegu, Tenasserim, 
and the greater part of the Shan States. Geographically 
Burma Proper is the valley of the middle Irawadi, an area 
with boundaries well defined on the west, less clearly 
defined on the north and east, and very vaguely defined to 
the southward. To the north and east Shan tribes, loosely 
confederated or at war with one another, maintained 
generally political independence, becoming occasionally 
tributary to a strong Burman king, or recognizing the 
supremacy of China. To the west the Arakan Yoma, or 
mountain range, formed an almost impassable barrier 
between Burma and Arakan ; and, in spite of their common 
descent and language, only rarely, and at very long 
intervals, did the people of the two countries acknowledge 
the sway of the same king. The delta districts and the 
Tenasserim coast were inhabited by an entirely different 
race, the Mun or Talaing people, and the climate difiers 
considerably from the climate of Burma Proper. But the 
change from the comparatively dry climate of Upper Burma 
to the heavy rainfall of the delta is gradual ; and the inter- 
mediate zone with Prome as its centre was from age to age 


the battle-ground of the rival Taking and Burmese 

The eastern frontier of the Talaing kingdom was formed 
by the Salween river and low hills. Further south the 
Tenasserim Yoma, still the boundary between the British 
province and Siam, constitutes a more definite dividing 
line, but is easily crossed at various points. No navigable 
or fordable river ever formed a satisfactory frontier 
between warlike nations, and the Salween proved no 
exception to the rule. When the Burmese warrior kings 
were bent on conquest their ambition found its easiest 
outlet to the southward. Stopped by the sea they turned 
eastward, Siamese territory was violated, and reprisals 
were made. In the course of five centuries of almost 
continuous war between the Talaing and Burmese power 
Siam was repeatedly involved in the struggle. Its capital, 
unsuccessfully besieged on half a dozen occasions, was 
sacked three times, and Burmese troops penetrated into 
Lao territory, east of the Mekong. 

Arakan, on the other hand, protected by the Yoma, 
enjoyed almost complete immimity from Burmese aggression. 
The Arakanese kings, it is true, in the eleventh century 
acknowledged the supremacy of Anawrahta and his 
immediate successors, but their dependence on Burma was 
nominal. Three centuries later the Arakanese, distracted 
by the strife of rival claimants to the throne, invited 
Burmese intervention, and the kings of Arakan were for 
fifty years the puppets of Burma or of Pegu. But the 
country resisted all attempts at conquest until its dis- 
ordered state in the eighteenth century opened the way to 
successful invasion. So, while the troops of Burma overran 
the territory of alien races a thousand miles from Ava, they 
were baffled by their neighbours and kinsmen whose capital 
lay less than a fortnight's journey from Ava across the 


mountains. Yet at no period of its history would Arakan 
have offered serious resistance to a determined attack by sea. 

Another example of the influence of a mountain range in 
determining the course of history is furnished by the Pegu 
Yoma. This is a low range of hills starting a little south 
of the volcanic Mount Popa and running nearly due south 
to Eangoon. It is on the last spur of these hills that the 
Shwe Dagon pagoda is built. The range separates the 
valley of the Irawadi from the valley of the Sittaung. At 
no point is it more than 2000 feet high, though the rock- 
formation makes it difficult to cross. Its flanks can easily 
be turned at either end by a land army. Yet this low 
range formed an efiectual screen between the main track of 
the warlike expeditions along the Irawadi and the peaceful 
strip of country on the banks of the Sittaung. Once in the 
twelfth century the importance of the little outlying 
province of Taungu was recognized by the appointment of 
a Burmese governor. Once in the twelfth, and once in the 
thirteenth century, it was visited by the ruling kings ol 
Burma and of Pegu respectively. In the fourteenth 
century the heir-apparent of Pagan was appointed governor. 
At the end of the fourteenth, and again at the beginning 
of the fifteenth century, expeditions from Ava against 
Pegu advanced along the Sittaung valley. But for the 
most part it lay undisturbed, and an independent state 
grew up owning a nominal allegiance to Ava. This state 
rapidly developed during the period of mutual exhaustion 
caused by the wars between Burma and Pegu, and before 
the middle of the sixteenth century sent forth a king who 
conquered the whole country and imited the rival kingdoms 
imder one monarch of Burmese race. 

Prome was in early days the seat of an ancient dynasty 
which afterwards settled in Pagan. During the period 
following the dissolution of the first Burmese empire at the 


end of tte thirteentli century, Prome was again the capital 
of an independent kingdom. But its position between tte 
two great rival states, Pegu and Burma, was fatal to freedom, 
and from the middle of the fourteenth century its king or 
governor was generally tributary to one or other of the 
combatants. It occasionally enjoyed a brief period of 
independence under a governor who maintained himself in 
successful revolt against his suzerain and allied himself 
with the rival monarch, when the struggle had left both 
temporarily exhausted. But such brief independence was 
enjoyed by many other provinces which have no real claim 
to be regarded as sovereign states. Yamethin, Tavoy, 
Tenasserim, Martaban, and even Myaungmya, supply 
similar instances. Three of these — Tavoy, Tenasserim, and 
Martaban — were always loosely held, and fell from time to 
time under the sway of Siam. It was no mere accident 
that Tavoy and Tenasserim, with Arakan, were the first 
provinces to be detached from the Burmese empire when 
the final dissolution began. 

Of the many races inhabiting Burma the Mun or 
Taking race is probably the oldest. They are a branch 
of the Mon-Khmer race and seem to have com^e down 
with the first wave of migration from the highlands of 
China, and settled in the low country about the mouths 
of the Irawadi, Sittaung and Salween rivers. Their 
ancient capital, Thaton, at that time a seaport, was 
colonized in prehistoric days by kings from Telingana, a 
district on the east coast of India north of Madras. By a 
not unnatural confusion the whole people came to be known 
by the name Teleng or Taking, which was strictly 
applicable only to their kings, but the Muns themselves 
are said not to have recognized the name. Chinese records 
of the year 1604 speak of the Telengs. " Taking " is the 
nearest possible equivalent in Burmese. The tradition 



which attributes the invention of the name to Alaungpaya 
in the eighteenth century, and quotes it as a specimen of 
his sardonic humour, will not bear examination. He is 
said to have changed the name to " Taking," meaning 
" the downtrodden," from a Mun word " laing " meaning 
" to tread upon," by a pun on the name Teleng. But they 
could never have been known to the Burmans as " Teleng," 
for that form is impossible in Burmese. They must have 
been known either as Mun or Taking. Nor does the word 
" laing " exist in the Mun language except in combination ; 
much less does it mean " to tread upon." This tradition 
assumes that Alaungpaya knew the word " laing," but was 
ignorant of its real meaning : a very considerable assump- 
tion. Another ingenious explanation connects the word 
Teleng with the Malay word Kling, the Hindu Kelingana, 
and so with the Kols or aboriginal inhabitants of India. 

The next migration was probably the Tibeto-Burman 
migration. In very early times tribes moved down 
from Eastern Tibet along the valley of the Brahmaputra 
into Assam and Burma, and their descendants became 
the Chins, Kami, and Burmese. The first entry of 
the Tai or Shan race is difficult to trace. Soon after 
the first Tibeto-Burman migration, or, as some think, 
even before that time, the Tai race passed down from 
Central Asia along the valleys of the Mekong, Menam, 
Irawadi and Brahmaputra, and settled in the country 
about those rivers. Their first settlements in Burma 
seem to have been in the valley of the Shweli river. 
They were probably driven down by the disturbances 
which followed the great rebellion in Southern China at 
the beginning of the first century before Christ. A second 
movement of Shans took place in the sixth century. One 
branch subsequently passed into Assam, which they 
conquered in the thirteenth century, and founded the 


A "'I 
■l 1 


Ahom dynasty there in the year 1540 a.d. The main 
stream settled in the plateau to the east of the Irawadi 
and spread down into Siam. It is curious that the Siamese 


aspirate the name, making it T'ai, which they say means 
" free." 

The last migration was that of the Kachins, who are 
one race with the Chingpaw or Singhpo, They appeared 
about Bhamo in the seventeenth century and spread west- 
ward into Assam at the end of the eighteenth century. 
They are thought to be descendants of people left behind 
in the high valleys by the first Tibeto-Burman migration of 
prehistoric times, and so are connected with the Burmans, 
Chins, and Kami. They are a warlike race, and would 
possibly have overrun the whole of Upper Burma in time 
hut for the advent of the British power. 

Next to the Burmese and Shans the Karens in their 
various tribes are the most numerous and most widely 
dispersed race in the country. Their traditions point to 
an early migration, in the course of which they crossed " a 
river of sand," which is by some identified with the desert 
of Gobi in Central China. At a later period they continued 
their southward movement, and about the second century 
A.D. they seem to have been settled in Upper Burma. 
Three or four centuries later they spread over the 
mountains between the Irawadi, Salween, and Menam, as 
far south as the sea. More than any other race in Burma 
they hold themselves aloof and apart, although their 
villages are scattered all over the delta interspersed 
amongst the Burmans, and they rarely intermarry with 
the latter. 


Prehistoric Period. Like many other ancient 
chronicles the Burmese Maha-raza-win, or Chronicles of the 
Kings, opens with an account of the creation. This 
finished, it proceeds to describe the foundation by kings 
from India of a monarchy at Tagaung in Upper Burma. 
The aboriginal tribes then in the land were called Kanran, 
Pru or Pyu, and Sak or Thet. They afterwards took the 
name of Brahma or Mramma, by which the people is still 
called. This name was never applied to the Arakanese, 
who claim to be the older branch of the race. The 
Arakanese pronunciation is certainly an older form than 
the Burmese, and their claim is probably well founded. 
The Burmese language is closely allied with the Tibetan and 
Nepalese, and a common origin is certain. The early 
migrations from Eastern Tibet have already been referred 
to in the Introduction. 

Early Tradition. In very early times a king, 
Abhi-raza, from Kapilavastu in Oude, the home of Buddha, 
was forced by dissensions with neighbouring chiefs to leave 
his country, and came with an army into Burma. There he 
established a kingdom and built Tagaung on the Upper 
Irawadi for his capital. At his death his two sons, Kan- 
raza-gyi and Kan-raza-ngfe, both claimed the throne. To 



settle the dispute it was agreed that he who should build a 
pagoda the quicker should be made king. Kan-raza-nge 
in one night erected a structure of bamboo and lime con- 
trived to look like stone, and was declared the winner. His- 
brother, with his own followers, descended the Irawadi to 
the mouth of the Chindwin river, which he ascended as far 
as its confluence with the Myittha. Here he turned west- 
ward and occupied the southern portion of the Kale valley. 
When his rule was established, he left his son to reign over 
the tribes of his new kingdom, while he himself proceeded 
south-west into Arakan, and founded another kingdom 
near Mount Kyaukpadaung. The date assigned to this 
event is 825 B.C. 

Fall of Tagaung. Kan-raza-nge and thirty-one of 
his descendants ruled in Tagaung. The Maha-raza-win 
states that the last of these kings, Beinaka or Bhiimaka by 
name, was overthrown about the year 700 B.C. by an 
invasion of Chinese, called in the chronicle Tarok and Taret. 
The invasion probably took place six centuries later, and 
the invaders were Shans from the hUl country east of the 
Irawadi, driven downwards by the pressure of the great 
rebellion in China in the first century B.C. The king fled 
south to Male on the Irawadi and died there. His followers 
at his death split up into three divisions. One followed the 
track of Kan-raza-gyi and reached Kale, where the descen- 
dants of Muddusitta, son of Kan-raza-gyi, were still reigning. 
Another division took refuge in the Shan country, and the 
third remained with the queen Naga-hsein. 

Old Pagan. The Shan invaders did not stay long in 
the kingdom of Tagaung, but were driven out by Indians 
from the north-west. A king named Daza-raza entered 
Burma and settled in Mauriya, which some place in the 
Chindwin valley, others east of the Irawadi. From there 
he went to Male, married Queen Naga-hsein, and built a 


new capital at Old Pagan close to Taganng, which also he 
shortly afterwards occupied. Here sixteen of his descen- 
dants are said to have reigned. The last of these was 
Thado Maha Kaza, who had no son. Accordingly Prince 
Khepaduta, brother of the queen, was declared Ein-she-min 
(Lord of the Eastern House) or heir-apparent. Before 
he succeeded to the throne, however, an invasion took 
place, probably of Shans from the east, and the royal 
famUy fled to the forest. There the queen brought forth 
twin sons, who were born blind, and concealed them lest 
they should be put to death. When they grew to man- 
hood, being imfit to rule, they were put on board a raft 
and sent adrift on the Irawadi. During the journey down 
their sight was miraculously restored by an ogress (Biluma). 
The memory of this miracle is said to be preserved in the 
names of two villages, Mopon and Myede, close to the town 
of Allanmyo, the old frontier station of British Burma. 
These were the first words uttered by the young princes on 
receiving their sight : Myede, " the earth is inside," and 
Mopon, " the sky covers it Uke a lid." 

Prome and Tharekhettara. Before this invasion, 
the heir -apparent. Prince Khepaduta, pursuing a wild boar 
in the forest, had lost his way, and being unable to retrace 
his steps, at last gave up the attempt to return to the 
palace. Wandering southwards along the river he came to 
the place where Prome now stands. There he found a hill 
with a cave in which he took up his abode and became a 
hermit. A doe living in the forest close by having miracu- 
lously given birth to a himian child, the hermit adopted 
the child as his daughter and called her Bedari. When 
the two young princes, his nephews, reached Prome on 
their raft, they met the Princess Bedari drawing water 
from the river. As they talked with her they became 
aware that her father was their lost uncle, and decided 


to settle at Prome witli him. The elder prince, 
Thambawa, married Bedari and founded a kingdom with 
its capital at Prome. After a reign of six years he was 
succeeded by his brother, Sulathambawa, and then by his 
son Dottabaung. Dottabaung removed the capital to a 
site five miles east of Prome, where he built the city of Thare- 
khettara — " the field of fortune " or " the sacred field." It 
was known also as Rathemyo, " hermit-town," in memory 
of the hermit prince. Dottabaung is said to have been a 
good king ; but having on one occasion seized land which 
belonged to a monastery, he was punished by misfortunes 
of various kinds, and was finally drowned at sea in the 
whirlpool of Nagarit, near the mouth of the Bassein river. 
Burma during the period of the Prome King- 
dom. Of the history of Prome or Tharekhettara 
nothing is really known. The dynasty came to an end 
early in the second century of the Christian era. The rule 
of the Prome kings did not extend very far north or south 
of their capital. Upper Burma was probably occupied 
chiefly by Shans, who are said to have established a power- 
ful kingdom called Pong, about which nothing is really 
known. In the south the kingdom of Thaton was flourishing 
under kings from India. It has already been stated that 
the Shans were settled along the Shweli river nearly a 
hundred years before the Christian era. It seems probable 
that in very early times they settled along the upper Mekong 
and Salween, and, perhaps driven out by the Chinese, 
passed later into the country about Mogaung and the valley 
of the Shweli. The Chinese annals show that such a move- 
ment took place about the beginning of the first century B.C., 
and it is likely that the fall of the Pagan or Tagaung kingdom 
was due to this movement. All that can be said of the 
early history is that the tribes which called themselves Pyu, 
Kanran and Thet were ruled by kings from India, who 


gave them some degree of civilization and tauglit them 
agriculture and the simple arts. The same process was 
going on, as will be seen later, amongst the Mun or 
Taking people in Lower Burma. The kings of Upper Burma 
crossed from India by land through Bengal and Manipur. 
Those who colonized Thaton came by sea from the Madras 
coast. Communication with India by sea gradually in- 
creased while the land routes were less used. 

End of the Prome Kingdom. Civil war brought 
the kingdom of Prome to an end. Towards the close of the 
first century a.d. the last king of Prome, Thupinya, was on 
the throne. A quarrel is said to have arisen between the 
tribes Kanran and Pyu, in which the Pyu tribe was 
victorious. During this quarrel they were attacked by the 
Takings from the south and by the Arakanese from the 
west. King Thupinya died during the war, and his nephew, 
Thamokdarit, with his followers of the Pyu tribe, was driven 
from the country east of the Irawadi and crossed the river 
at Padaung. On the west bank they were attacked by the 
Arakanese and fled northwards, leaving the enemy to sack 
Tharekhettara before they returned to Arakan. After 
wandering for many years Thamokdarit and his followers 
settled at New Pagan and founded the capital of the great 
Pagan monarchy. From this time onward the name of the 
whole people becomes Mramma, and the tribal names, Pyu, 
Kanran and Thet, drop out of use, though the Chinese 
history continues to use the name Pyu for another 900 years. 



Talaings. The Mun or Taking people, who occupied 
the delta of the Irawadi and the eastern parts of Lower 
Burma, probably belong to one of the races that spread over 
South-Eastern Asia even before the period of the great 
Tibeto-Burman migrations. They called themselves Mun, 
but they were called Teleng by the Chinese, and Talaing 
by the Burmans. As in the case of Upper Burma, an 
uncivilized people received rulers from India, who intro- 
duced order and founded a kingdom at Thaton, which at 
that time was a sea-coast town. These kings came in very 
early times from Telingana on the Coromandel coast, and it 
is from that name that the word Talaing or Teleng is derived. 
In the Buddhist chronicles of Ceylon the country was known 
as Suvanna Bhumi or Golden Land. About 240 B.C. two 
missionaries, - Sona and Uttara by name, are said to have 
come from Ceylon to Thaton and converted the people to 
Buddhism. Very little else is known of the early history 
of the kingdom, though a list of 59 kings who reigned at 
Thaton is found in the Talaing chronicles. 

Foundation of Pegu. Buddhist tradition states 
that Buddha, in one of his early incarnations, beheld, 
appearing above the surface oi the sea, a small patch of 
sand, on which two golden geese alighted ; and the Master 
thereupon prophesied that on that spot would one day be 
founded a famous city. This prophecy was fulfilled about 
the year 573 a.d., when Thamala and Wimala, two sons of 
the ruling king of Thaton, collected followers and founded 
on the sacred spot a city which they called Hansawadi or 
Hanthawadi, from the Sanscrit hansa, a goose (Burmese, 


This city, called also by the Talaing name Pegu, 
became the capital of the great kingdom. The old dynasty 
still ruled in Thaton. The ancient books recording the 
history of the kingdom of Pegu were destroyed when the 
kingdom was conquered by the Buimans, and only a list of 
kings remains, ending with the name of King Titha, who 
ruled from 761 to 781 a.d. But it is believed that Buddha- 
ghosa brought the Tripitaka or Buddhist Scriptures to 
Thaton about the year 450 a.d. From that time onward 
the disputes between Buddhists and Brahmins must have 
become more acute, and the country was probably much 
disturbed by their quarrels. Buddhist doctrine finally won 
the day. About the time of Buddhaghosa's visit Talaing 
was reduced to writing. It was probably some 500 years 
later that Burmese, like Talaing, borrowed an Indian 
alphabet. The letters were originally square, but the 
round form was necessarily used when palm leaves were 
introduced and the letters engraved with a metal style. 

From the reign of King Titha down to the fall of the 
Burmese monarchy at Pagan, five hundred years later, the 
Talaing history is a blank. 



Foundation of New Pagan. After thirteen 
years' wandering King Thamokdarit founded New Pagan 
in the year 108 a.d. He was not directly descended from 
the old kings of Tagaung. That race had come to an end 
in Prome two centuries before, and the last king of the 
dynasty, then ruling in Prome, adopted a son from whom 


Thamokdarit was descended. There was, however, living 
at Male in the Upper Irawadi a young man named Sawdi, 
a direct descendant of a younger brother of the blind twins 
who had been put on board a raft and sent down the 
Irawadi to Prome. Thus Sawdi was of the old blood royal. 
When Pagan was founded he left Male and came down to 
the new capital, where he lived in the house of a peasant of 
the Pyu race, and so is sometimes spoken of as Pyu-minti 
or Pyu Sawdi. He found the people of the new kingdom 
suffering from a plague of savage animals and flying monsters, 
which devoured men, women and children. Without delay 
he set to work and destroyed them, and the king married 
him to his daughter, declaring him at the same time Ein- 
she-min. On the death of the king, however, he did not 
at once succeed to the throne, but allowed a hermit called 
Rathekyaung to rule for fifteen years. Sawdi became 
king at the death of the hermit. 

The New Era. Sawdi is said to have ruled seventy- 
five years, and died in the year 243 a.d. He was a warlike 
king, and fought the Chinese with success. His kingdom 
included much of the country that the Kings of Tagaung 
and Old Pagan had held. After his death there is no im- 
portant event for nearly four hundred years. Then King 
Thinga Raza began to reign. He had been a monk before 
he became king. In his reign the calendar was corrected, 
and the modern Burmese era began in March, 639 a.d., 
when the sun entered Aries. 

Dragon- Worship. One of the chief worships which 
went on side by side with the practice of Buddhism, as in 
China at the present day, was dragon- worship. This 
worship, introduced from India, had become so popular at 
the beginning of the tenth century that it threatened to 
destroy Buddhism. Saw Rahan, a usurper who seized the 
throne in the year 924, set up an image of the dragon in a 


beautiful grove, built temples and monasteries, and sup- 
ported tbe priests, who were called Ari. They lived in 
monasteries, but they drank liquor and led wicked lives. 

Anawrahta King. Anawrahta is the first great 
Burmese king. He reformed religion, conquered the Talaing 
kingdoms of Thaton and Pegu, and recovered much of the 
territory in Upper Burma that belonged to the old Tagaung 
monarchy. His queen was the daughter of an Indian 
prince of Wethali in Arakan. He hated the dragon-worship, 
and desired to restore the pure Buddhist doctrine. This 
he only imperfectly understood ; but a great teacher, 
Arahan, came from Thaton as a missionary of Buddhism. 
He appeared before the king, and preached the law of 
Buddha with such effect that the priests of the dragon- 
worship were expelled from their monasteries, and replaced 
by Rahans from Thaton, who taught the true religion. 

Conquest of Thaton. Though the true religion 
was established, there was no copy of the Tripitaka in Pagan. 
Anawrahta therefore sent to Manuha, king of Thaton, for 
a copy of the holy books which had been brought there by 
Buddhaghosa. Manuha refused the books, and Anawrahta 
at once collected an army, sailed down the Irawadi, 
and crossed to Thaton. The king of Thaton had little 
territory and no army, but the city was well defended by 
fortifications, and had to be reduced by famine. When 
it finally yielded it was razed to the ground ; all holy relics, 
books, and images were carried ofi ; King Manuha and 
his family were made pagoda slaves, and all the nobles and 
skilled workmen who might be of any service in Pagan 
were taken captive thither {circa 1050 A.D.). It was at 
this time that the Talaing records were destroyed, so that 
the history of the Talaings down to the restoration of the 
Pegu monarchy at the end of the thirteenth century is very 


Mission to China. Having obtained a eopy of 
the sacred books, Anawrahta was eager to obtain a sacred 
relic aiso. Four hundred and eighty years before he came 
to the throne, a tooth of the Buddha had been taken to 
China by a Persian ambassador. This tooth Anawrahta 
wished to get, and he marched with an army into Yunnan. 
The ruler of Nanchao, an independent Tai kingdom in 
southern Yunnan, met the Burmese king, and presented 
him with a golden image which had touched the sacred 
tooth. With this he had to be content. On his return 
journey, Anawrahta met and married a Shan princess. 
The adventures which ended in his marriage are told in a 
popular zat or drama. 

Mission to Ceylon. The king still tried to 
get a relic of the Buddha to deposit in the Shwezigon 
pagoda, which he was then building at Pagan. A bone 
was said to be enclosed in a pagoda at Tharekhettara, but 
when the pagoda was opened no relic was found. Finally 
the king sent to Ceylon for the sacred tooth which is pre- 
served there, but again the mission failed. This time, 
however, the envoys brought back a piece of ivory which 
was said to have grown out of the tooth, and this was 
carried with much ceremony to Pagan. 

Anawrahta King of all Burma. Anawrahta came 
to the throne in 1010 and ruled forty-two years. He is 
said to have conquered the powerful Shan kingdom of 
Pong and to have taken tribute from Arakan. He was thus 
the first who ruled over the whole country which we now 
call Burma. He did much to encourage Buddhism, and 
he was the first oi the great pagoda builders. His empire 
lasted more than two hundred years. Then it was over- 
thrown, as we shall see later, by the Chinese, and Shan 
chiefs ruled over many separate kingdoms in Burma. 

Embassy from Ceylon. The king who succeeded 


Anawrahta was killed in battle against an army of rebels 
from Pegu, and in 1057 Kyausittha, a younger son of 
Anawrah-ta, became king. During Ms reign the King of 
Ceylon sent an embasy to Pegu. Under the rule of Indian 
kings Buddhism had almost died out in Ceylon, while 
in Burma it had become firmly established. So when the 
Sinhalese king wished to restore Buddhism he sent to 
Burma for help and advice. 

Alaungsithu King. Kyansittha was succeeded 
by his grandson Alaungsithu. The new king devoted 
himself to reforms, improved the administration of the law, 
and regulated weights and measures. He travelled much, 
visiting Arakan and Bengal, where he married the daughter 
of a prince of Pateikkaya. Only one war broke the peace 
of Alaungsithu's long reign. An Arakanese prince was 
Kving at the Burmese court. His grandfather had been 
killed by a usurper, and his father had fled to Pagan. He 
asked Alaungsithu to restore him to his kingdom. In the 
year 1102 a Talaing expedition went by sea to Arakan, 
and a Burmese army marched by land through the passes 
of the Yoma. The Talaing force was defeated, and the 
Burmans retired. In the following year, however, the 
Arakanese were defeated, and the prince was restored to 
the throne of his grandfather. In return for Alaung- 
sithu's assistance he undertook to restore the Buddhist 
temple at Gaya in Bengal, and fulfilled his promise about 
two years later, as is shown by an inscription on a stone 
tablet at G-aya. 

Death of Alaungsithu. As the king grew old, 
his two sons, impatient no doubt to succeed to the throne, 
gave him much trouble. He appointed the elder, Minshin- 
saw, governor of the northern part of the kingdom, with 
headquarters near the site of the modern Amarapura. 
This prince began to make the Aungpinle tank, near 


Mandalay. Alaungsithu also caused the tank at Meiktila 
to be repaired. The younger son, Narathu, in the absence 
of his brother, sufEocated the king under a pile of clothes 
and seized the throne in 1160 a.d. 

Narathu King. On hearing of the death of his 
father, the elder prince, Minshinsaw, sailed down the river 
to Pagan in order to make himself king. His brother 
Narathu pretended to welcome him as the rightful heir, 
and led him to the palace, where he was at once consecrated 
king, but was put to death by poison during the following 
night. Narathu then seized the throne, and caused his 
father's old servants and followers to be murdered. He 
went so far as to slay the queen with his own hand. Her 
father, the Pateikkaya prince, swore to avenge her death, 
and sent eight of his own men to Pagan disguised as Brah- 
min priests. Narathu allowed the Indians to enter the 
palace under the pretence of giving him their blessing. 
There they fell upon him, and having killed him killed each 
other. Narathu is therefore known as Kula-kya-min, or 
the king whom the Indians overthrew. His reign had 
lasted only four years, 1160 to 1164. 

Narabadisithu King. The Kula-kya-min left two 
sons. One of these, after reigning three years, was put to 
death by his brother, who became king in 1167 with the 
title Narabadisithu, and ruled for thirty-seven years. 
During his reign there was much intercourse between 
Burma and Ceylon, where Buddhism had been restored, 
and a warlike king, Parakrama Bahu, was on the throne. 
Four great Rahans or priests came from Ceylon to Burma 
to teach certain new Buddhist doctrines. The friendship 
between the two countries was marred by one short war. 
The king of Ceylon at the court of Pegu kept an ambassador, 
whose expenses were, in accordance with Burmese custom, 
paid by the Burmese king. For some reason the Burmese 




stopped payment of ttese charges, and seized certain 
Sinhalese ships carrying royal envoys. The king of Ceylon 
then sent an army, which landed in the delta and took the 
Governor of Pegu prisoner. The Sinhalese records state 
that the king of Pagan apologised and promised tribute. 
This affair shows that the Burmese Empire was growing 
weak. In this reign Taungu became a separate province 
under a Burmese governor, and the king himself visited 
the province. 

Pagodas at Pagan. In the year 1204 Nara- 
badisthu died and was succeeded by his son, Zeyatheinkha, 
who ruled in peace for twenty-three years. He was the last 
of the great pagoda-builders. All the most famous pagodas 
of Pagan were built between the reigns of Anawrahta 
and Zeyatheinkha except one, the Mingalazedi, built by 
Tarokpykemin. The Shwezigon pagoda, which was meant 
to contain the sacred tooth demanded first from China 
and afterwards from Ceylon, was commenced by Anawrahta 
and completed by Kyansittha. The Ananda pagoda, the 
most beautiful of all the Pagan pagodas, was also built by 
Kyansittha. His successor, Alaungsithu, built the beautiful 
That-pin-nyu pagoda. The Dhamma-yan-kyi pagoda was 
built by Kula-kya-min. King Narabadisithu built the 
Gawdapalin and Sulamani pagodas. Zeyatheinkha built 
the Bawdi pagoda in imitation of the Buddhist temple at 
Gaya. All these pagodas are Indian in style, but differ in 
certain ways from Indian temples of the period. They 
remain as evidence of the wealth and power of the Pagan 
monarchs and the skill of their architects. 






Affairs in China. Anawratta's empire fell to 
pieces in the reign of Naratliihapate, great-grandson of 
Zeyatteinkha, who came to the throne in 1248. He is 
usually called Tarokpyemin, or " the king who ran away 
from the Chinese." During his reign the Mongols, under 
their great general Kublai Khan, conquered China. Kublai 
Khan first took Yunnan, then proceeded north to China 
Proper, leaving in Yunnan a general called Uriang Kadai 
(1254 A.D.). When the conquest of China was complete 
Kublai Khan wrote a letter to Burma (1273 a.d.) asking 
that some prince of the royal blood should be sent to do 
homage. Two years later a Shan chief, who had shown 
the Mongol commander the three roads into Burma which 
united at Old Bhamo on the Taping river, was seized by 
the Burmans and punished. Some Mongolian envoys also 
were detained by the Burmans. But two years passed 
before war broke out. 

■War with China. In the year 1277 the Burmans 
attacked Kange between Bhamo and Momein or Tengyueh, 
but a small Mongol force under the gov-ernor of Tali, the 
Chinese frontier province, defeated the Burmese in several 
battles on the Taping river. A second force of Mongols 
under Nasruddin came down later in the same year, 
but retired on account of the excessive heat, and there 
were no great battles for several years. Then in the 
year 1283 Nasruddin himself marched into Burma 
with a Mongolian army in two columns. One column 
advanced along the river Taping by Manwaing, tak- 
ing two hundred boats ; the other proceeded by land 


and joined the first column at the Burman stockade of 
Ngasaungyan, which the Chinese call Yungchang. The 
Burmans were defeated and fled, but took up a second 
position on the east bank of the Irawadi opposite Male. 
Here they were again attacked and defeated by the Mongols. 
Envoys were now sent to sue for peace, and in the year 
1285 a Mongol embassy was sent to arrange terms. These 
envoys were put to death for insolent behaviour in the 
presence of the king, who then, according to the chronicle, 
fled to Bassein. Some months later he returned to Prome, 
where his son, Thihathu, governor of Prome, put him to 

Sack of Pagan. The chronicle relates that before 
the flight of the king the inhabitants of Pagan by his orders 
pulled down six thousand temples of various sizes to obtain 
materials for strengthening the fortifications ; but, never- 
theless, the Mongols sacked Pagan and pursued the king 
as far as Tarokmaw, some distance below Prome. This 
account was perhaps invented to explain the name Tarok- 
maw or " Chinese promontory." Nothing is said in the 
Chinese record of the sack of Pagan. It is almost certain 
that the Mongols did not descend the river far below Old 
Pagan. According to the Chinese account, a Burmese 
envoy who was sent to ofier the king's submission met the 
Chinese general at Tagaung. If Pagan was indeed sacked, 
the destruction must have been the work of Shan auxili- 
aries or of the Burmese troops themselves. At this time 
the great pagoda built by Tarokpyemin was no doubt 
plundered for the sake of the numerous golden images 
which he had deposited in it. 

Pegu Revolts. In the year 1273 a Burmese officer 
in Pegu, who had married a Talaing wife, headed a Talaing 
rebellion. He made himself king, but was shortly after- 
wards murdered by his brother-in-law. This man was in 


turn murdered by one Tarabya, who became king. In 
Martaban a Shan merchant from Siam made himself king, 
with the title of Wariru. These two joined forces and 
defeated the Burmese troops at Dalla. Then Wariru 
quarrelled with Tarabya and they fought. Tarabya was 
beaten and taken prisoner, and afterwards put to death. 
Wariru ruled over Pegu from 1287 to 1306, with his capital 
at Martaban. In Pagan, Kyawswa, son of Tarokpyemin, 
ruled over what was left of the empire. 

Causes of the break up of the Empire. 
History shows that the empire of Anawrahta was not strong 
enough to resist attack. So long as peace lasted the govern- 
ment of the country was simple. But the central power 
was weak, and the king had very little control over the 
provinces. The villages managed their own afiairs, and 
were no doubt fairly happy if their governor did not tax 
them too heavily. When the Chinese and the Shans made 
war on the Burmans, the king was unable to unite the 
country to resist the enemy. The provinces fell away, 
and the fragments of the empire became separate kindgoms 
under Shan chiefs. The Shans have never combined and 
formed a great state. The next attempt to make Burma 
one kingdom took place more than two centuries later when 
Burmese kings from Taungu conquered the whole country. 


The Shan Brothers. About the year 1250 a 
Shan chief named Thingkabo, having quarrelled with his 
elder brother about their inheritance, fled to Burma and 




settled in M5dnsamg to the south of Ava, where there was 
already a Shan colony. He had three sons, Athengkhara, 
Eazathingyan, and Thihathu ; and one daughter, who was 
married to another Thihathu, son of Tarokpyemin. The 
three sons obtained great wealth and authority in Pagan, 
and were all appointed governors of districts. As the 
power of the Burmese kings declined, the power of the 
Shans increased. When the Pagan monarchy was over- 
thrown by the Chinese, each of these Shan governors 
became independent and began to extend his power. 

The Shan Kingdoms. In 1298 the Shan brothers 
seized Kyawswa at Myinsaing, where he had gone to 
attend the consecration of a monastery, and forced him to 
become a monk. Burma was at this time a Chinese 
dependency, in name at any rate. In the year 1300 a 
Chinese army was sent to restore Kyawswa to the throne. 
To settle the matter the Shans put Kyawswa to death and 
bribed the Chinese generals, who led their army back to 
China. The Shan brothers now ruled along the middle 
Irawadi, and a Shan was ruUng in Pegu. To the north 
and east, as far as the Chinese border, were many inde- 
pendent Shan chiefs. Arakan alone was not governed by 
Shans. As if to prove their independence the Arakanese 
in 1333 invaded Burma, and carried ofi the governor of 
Thayetmyo and his family. 

End of the Shan Kingdoms. For fourteen years 
the three brothers lived at peace with one another. Then 
in 1312 the second brother died, and the yoimgest, Thihathu, 
poisoned the eldest. He was now sole king, and made a 
new capital at Panya near Ava. But the Shans were never 
able to manage large kingdoms. Thihathu allowed his 
son to rule as king of Sagaing over the country as 
far north as Manipur, and his stepson was made governor 
of Taungu. After several kings had reigned in Panya and 


Sagaing the end of these separate kingdoms came in the 
year 1364. One Thadominbya, descended on his father's 
side from the old Burmese kings of Tagaung and on his 
mother's side from the Shan kings of Sagaing, was appointed 
by his stepfather, king Thihapate of Sagaing, to be governor 
of Tagaung. The Shans of Mogaung attacked and captured 
Tagaung, and Thadominbya fled to Sagaing. There Thi- 
hapate put him iu prison. The Shans pursuing Thado- 
minbya reached Sagaing, and Thihapate fled. The Shans 
sacked Sagaing and Panya and returned home, taking the 
king of Panya prisoner. The people of Sagaing were angry 
with Thihapate because he had run away. They now 
joined Thadominbya, who put his stepfather to death, 
seized Panya, and became sole king of the middle Irawadi. 
He made his capital at Ava, and permitted a descendant 
of Tarokpyemin, who was king of Pagan without any real 
power, to continue to rule as his vassal. 

Wariru, King of Pegu. How Wariru made 
himself king of Pegu has already been told. He ruled 
nineteen years in peace, except for one unsuccessful attack 
which was made on him by the Shan brothers. They 
wished to take a white elephant of which Wariru was the 
fortunate owner. In the year 1306 two sons of Tarabya, 
whom he had spared when he put their father to death, 
killed him and then took refuge in a monastery, whence 
they were dragged by Wariru's followers and slain. Wariru's 
brother ruled four years in Pegu, and was succeeded by his 
wife's nephew, a Talaing, Zaw-aw by name, who married 
the daughter of the king of Siam. But war broke out 
between Pegu and Siam because the chief of Zimme (Chieng- 
mai) attacked a town on the Bilin river. The provinces of 
Tavoy and Tenasserim were taken from the Siamese. But 
when Zaw-aw died (1323) and his brother Byinnyaranda 
became king and moved his capital from Martaban to 


Pegu (Hanthawadi), the Siamese recaptiired these two 

Byinnya-u King. Byinnyaranda was killed in a 
battle while he was trying to conquer Prome, which 
had become a separate kingdom in the break-up of the 
Pagan empire. In the struggles for the throne which 
followed, Siam took a part and was badly beaten. In 
1348 Byinnya-u, son of Byinnyaranda, became king. He 
had a white elephant, and took the title of Sinbyushin 
(Lord of the White Elephant). On his accession he made 
Martaban again the capital, and put Pegu in charge of a 
governor. This man now revolted, and while the rebellion 
was being subdued the white elephant died. The loss of 
the elephant was regarded as a serious matter, and the king 
at once set about searching the forest for another. During 
his absence his cousin, Bya-taba by name, revolted and 
seized Martaban. The king fled to Dunwun, where for six 
years he held out against all attacks. The town was 
finally captured, and the king retired to Hanthawadi 
(Pegu). Making this his capital, he ruled over the northern 
part of the kingdom, while Bya-taba ruled in Martaban. 
It was during this civil war that cannon were used for the 
first time in Burma, Martaban being defended, though 
unsuccessfully, by cannon against the assault of Bya-taba. 
Civil war continued to the end of the reign. The king 
was persuaded by his favourite queen to set aside his 
eldest son and declare her son heir to the throne. The 
elder prince refused his consent to this arrangement and 
fortified himself at Dagon, opposite the stockade of Delia. 
Here, aided by Mahommedans from India with a flotilla 
of war boats, he resisted the army which the queen sent 
against him from Pegu. While the struggle was still in 
progress the king died, and the rebel prince became king 
with the title Razadirit in the year 1385. During his 





reign began tte series of wars between Burma and Pegu 
which lasted four hundred years and exhausted the whole 

Note. — Dagun, or Dagon, was the name by which 
Rangoon was known before the time of Alaungpaya, who 
changed the name to Rangoon, " end of strife," to com- 
memorate his subjugation of the Takings. An older city 
is said to have been founded on the same site in the year 
746 by Ponarika Raza (King Brahmin Heart), the king of 
Thaton, whose son Titha was converted from Hinduism 
to Buddhism by the miracles performed by Badra Devi. 
the pious daughter of a Peguan merchant. He afterwards 
made her his queen. This older city was variously called 
Aramana, Kamanago, or Ramanago. 


Foundation of Ava. Thadominbya determined to 
build for himself a new capital, and selected for its site 
Ava, at the confluence of the Myitnge and Irawadi. Here 
he planned a city adorned with a palace and pagodas, 
and defended by fortifications. The name given to the 
new capital in royal proclamations was Ratanapura, or 
" City of Gems." Leaving his ministers to finish the work, 
the king marched southward to reconquer the old Burmese 
kingdom. While fighting at Sagu he caught smallpox 
and died before he could reach Ava. To prevent his queen 
from becoming the wife of his successor he cruelly sent on 
ahead a servant who slew her. His reign had lasted only 
three years, 1364 to 1367. 


Mingyi Swa Sawke King. At the time of Thado- 
minbya's death the district of Amyin, near the confluence 
of the Chindwin and the Irawadi, was governed by Tarabya 
Sawke, great grandson of Tarokpyemin. He was now 
chosen by the nobles as king with the title Mingji Swa 
Sawke. Like Thadominbya he wished to rule over the 
whole country. In a few years he had reconquered the 
valley of the Irawadi southward as far as Prome, which he 
captured. While Byinnya-u ruled in Pegu peace was 
preserved between Pegu and Ava. But when Eazadirit 
came to the throne the king of Ava plotted with the governor 
of Myaungmya to attack him. 

War with Pegu. At the end of 1386 two Burmese 
armies marched against Pegu, one from the north by way of 
Taungu and one from the west by way of the Irawadi. The 
governor of Myaungmya did not send the help he had 
promised, and the second Burmese army was defeated at 
Hlaing, forty mUes to the west of Pegu. In the following 
year, though Myaungmya sent troops to help the Burmese, 
Eazadirit defeated his enemies and pursued them to Prome. 
He then conquered Martaban in 1388, and Myaungmya in 
1389, and ruled over the whole of Lower Burma from Prome 
to Martaban in peace for fifteen years. In the year 1400 
Min Khaxmg, son of Mingyi Swa Sawke, became king in 
Ava and the war began again in 1404. 

Reincarnation of a Talaing Prince. Some 
years before, according to the chronicle, Razadirit's eldest 
son, who was falsely accused of plotting against the king 
in order to seize the throne for himself, had been executed. 
Before he was led out to his death he prayed that if he were 
innocent he might at once be born again in the Burmese 
nation, aiid punish the Talaings who had unjustly slain him. 
Soon after his death the wife of Min Khaung bore a son, 
Min-re-kyaw-swa, who was believed by all to be the re- 

C.B. c 


incarnation of the Talaing prince. At the early age of 
seventeen he commanded a Burmese army, which again 
and again defeated the troops of Pegu. 

Arakan intervenes. The renewal of the war 
was really caused by the Arakanese. During the war be- 
tween Pegu and Ava the Arakanese sided with the Talaings, 
and King Thinsa made a raid into Burmese territory. 
Min Khaung, being at peace with Razadirit, was determined 
to punish Arakan, and sent an army to invade the country 
in 1404:. But Razadirit, with an army and a fleet of boats, 
sailed up the Irawadi to Sagaing. There he was persuaded 
by a Buddhist monk of great learning and piety to give up 
the war in order to avoid bloodshed. He returned to Pegu 
withoTit attacking Ava. But two years later he attacked 
Proine and, having failed to capture it, made peace with 
the king of Ava at a meeting on the platform of the Prome 
pagoda. The boundary between the two kingdoms was to 
be Tarokmaw. 

Peace broken again. The peace did not last 
long. Min Khaung invaded Arakan again as soon as he 
had peace with Pegu. But a Talaing army was sent to 
help the Arakanese, and defeated the Burmans. Two 
Burmese invasions of Pegu in 1407 and 1409 were also 
defeated, and Min Khaung returned to Ava weary and 
dispirited. His son Min-re-kyaw-swa, who was believed to 
be Razadirit's dead son reincarnated, took command of 
the army in 1410, being then seventeen years old. He 
invaded Arakan and captured Myauk-u, but Talaing troops 
repulsed him at Sandoway, and he returned to Burma. 

War with the Chinese. After the death of 
Tarokpyemin the Chinese treated Burma as a dependent 
state. Chinese of&cers were stationed at Sagaing and 
Panya, and tribute was paid to China. The Shan state of 
Theinni, which was under Chinese protection, fought with 


Burma, and the Sawbwa was killed. The Chinese sent 
an army to punish the Burmans, but Min-re-kyaw-swa 
drove out the Chinese and conquered Theinni in 1412. 
Again the Chinese interfered when the Burmese punished 
two Shan chiefs who had attacked the state of Myedvf, 
which was under Burmese protection. The Burmese 
captured the wives and children of the two chiefs and took 
them to Ava. A Chinese army came to Ava and demanded 
the prisoners. This was refused. Then, the chronicle says, 
it was agreed that one man should be chosen by each 
side to fight and settle the matter. The Burmese champion, 
a Talaing captive, slew his opponent, and the Chinese army 

Death of the rival Kings. The Takings 
naturally were not idle in the meantime. They attacked 
Prome while Min-re-kyaw-swa was fighting the Chinese ; 
but when he returned he drove their armies back to the 
delta and captured Dalla. In the year 1416 he was killed 
in battle in the Bassein District. The following year the 
war came to an end for a time, and the Burmese troops 
withdrew from the kingdom of Pegu. The rival kings 
were weary and old, and their people were poor and worn 
out by the long wars. Min Khaung died in 1422 and 
Bazadirit in the following year. 


The Province of Taungu. Taungu, situated 
mainly in the valley of the Sittaung, but comprising also a 
hilly district populated by Karen tribes, lay, roughly speak- 


ing, between tie same parallels of latitude as the province 
or kingdom of Prome. But as it was not on the direct road 
between Burma and Pegu, it was not so important as Prome. 
On two occasions, however, Burmese armies advanced on 
Pegu by way of Taungu. So it was certain that the kings 
of Pegu and Ava would some day fight for Taimgu as they 
had fought for Prome. The population of the valley was 
mixed, Burmese settlers coming from the north, Takings 
from the south, while the Karens lived in the hills. The 
province is said to have been twice visited by ruling kings 
before the days of the Shan monarchy at Pagan ; once by 
Narabadisithu, king of Pagan, at the end of the twelfth 
century, when a Burmese governor was appointed, and a 
second time at the end of the thirteenth century by Wariru 
of Martaban. Wariru then took the ruling chief captive, 
but his two sons succeeded to his power and built a fortress 
on a spur of the hills which projects into the plain. From 
the position of this stronghold the name Tanugu, or 
" mountain spur," is derived, and the old name was 
retained even when the city • was moved down into the 
plain. About the year 1315 Thihathu, king of Panya, 
sent his stepson to govern Taungu. 

Growing independence of Taungu. No doubt 
the Takings, as well as the Burmese, began at this 
time to see the importance of Taungu. But in the ex- 
hausting wars between them neither nation had any real 
power in the province, and its governors did as they pleased, 
though they were in name subject to the kings of Ava. 
Many Burmans fled to Taungu to escape tcom the govern- 
ment of the Shan kings. So a Burmese state grew up in 
Taxmgu, and its kings at length became rulers of the whole 
of Burma. 

Relations of Taungu to Pegu and Ava. 
The new kings of Pegu and Ava soon renewed the war. 


The brothers of the king of Pegu plotted against him and 
asked for the help of Ava. After much useless bloodshed 
both kings died in the same year 1426, the king of Ava being 
killed in battle by Shan rebels and the king of Pegu being 
poisoned. The next king of Ava, Mintara, was a Shan chief, 
though his mother was of the Burmese royal blood ; and 
many Burmese nobles, disliking his rule, went to Taungu. 
Sawlu, the governor of Taungu, was treated by Mintara 
as an equal. He hoped with the help of Pegu to make 
himself king of Ava, but the plan came to nothing. After 
his death in 1437 Burmese or Shan governors ruled in 
Taungu. Attempts to conquer the province were made 
from time to time both by Pegu and Ava. Ava twice 
succeeded, and appointed a new governor subject to the 
king. But the new governor soon became independent in 
his turn. At last, in 1485, Minkyinyo became ruler in 
Taungu, having murdered his uncle, the governor. He 
defeated an attack by the Talaings, and the king of Ava 
recognised him as an independent king. Then he began 
to prepare for war with Pegu, but he died in 1530, before 
his preparations were finished. His son, Tabin Shwehti, 
succeeded him. 


Conflict with China. The history of Ava in the 
fifteenth century is a confused and wearisome record of 
war against the Chinese and Shans. In the year 1439 
Mintara died, and was succeeded first by his son, who 
reigned three years, and then by his brother, Bayin Nara- 


badi. During Narabadi's reign there was constant war. 
China claimed that she was the supreme power in Ava and 
the Shan states, which were her vassals. When the Shan 
chief of Mogaung quarrelled with both the Burmese and 
the Chinese, he was seized and taken to Ava. The Burmese 
refused to give him up, and the Chinese invaded the country 
by way of the Taping valley twice in four years. The 
Shan chief poisoned himself, and his body was delivered 
to the Chinese ; but one of his two sons was afterwards 
captured by the Burmans, who kept him prisoner. Other 
invasions followed ; and finally, after ten years of war, 
the Burmese handed over the Shan captive to the Chinese 
in 1454. The rest of the reign was taken up with war in 
the Shan states and Taungu. The king's eldest son rebelled, 
and in the fighting Narabadi was wounded. He fled to 
Prome, and died there in 1468. 

Break-up of the Kingdom of Ava. During the 
next two reigns Ava broke up into a number of separate 
states. Salin, Yamethin and Prome all revolted, and the 
Shan state of Myedu followed their example. The kingdom 
of Pegu, which had long been at peace with Ava, attacked 
both Ava and Taungu. It was as a reward for defeating 
the Taking attack that Thirithudhamma, king of Ava, 
declared Taungu an independent state (see Chapter VII.). 
Immediately after his death in 1501 Taungu joined Prome 
in attack on Ava. Shan troops from Hsipaw defeated the 
invaders. The Shan chief of Mohnyin, Salon by name, 
occupied Myedu and Tabayin in 1501, and in the course of 
the next twenty-five years conquered the middle Irawadi 
valley. He made his son Saw-han-pwa (Tho-han-bwa) 
king of Ava in 1526. 

Shans capture Prome. The new king disHked 
the Burmans and was disliked by them. During his reign 
large numbers of Burmans migrated to Taungu. With 


the help of his father, Salon, Thohanbwa conquered Pronie 
and made the son of the ruling king governor. He hoped 
to conquer Taungu next, for he saw that the new state 
which had grown up was a strong and dangerous enemy. 
Its king was already preparing to attack the kingdom of 
Pegu, and if Pegu were conquered Ava would be next 
attacked. But Minkyinyo died in 1530, and the fight was 

Pegu from 1423 to 1453. On the death of Raza- 
dirit, his son, Byinnya Dhamma B,aza, became king of Pegu. 
The new king's two brothers quarrelled about the succession 
to the throne, and each in turn got help from the king of 
Ava. In 1426 the king of Pegu was poisoned. The elder 
of the brothers became king ; but the younger, who had 
been made governor of Martaban, established a separate 
kingdom there. There was peace between Pegu and Ava 
for seventy years, though Sawlu of Taungu tried to persuade 
Pegu to join in an attack on Ava about the year 1430, and 
both Pegu and Ava interfered in the afiairs of Taungu. 
Between 1446 and 1453 three kings ruled in Pegu. The last 
of these, Hmawdaw by name, put to death all the princes 
of Razadirit's line, and was murdered by his angry subjects 
in 1453. 

Sa-wbu and Dhammazedi. There was still living 
in Pegu the princess Sawbu, now an old woman, daughter of 
Razadirit and widow of Thihathu, son of Min Khaung and 
late king of Ava. The people of Pegu begged this princess 
to become their queen, and she consented. To help her to 
govern the country she chose a priest of Ava who had come 
to Pegu with her after Thihathu's death. He became a 
layman, married the queen's daughter, and was declared 
Ein-she-min, taking the name of Dhammazedi. On the 
death of Sawbu in 1460 he became king, and ruled in peace 
for thirty-one years at Pegu. He was famous for his 


wisdom and piety, and envoys came from neighbouring 
states and even from Ceylon to do Mm honour. When he 
died he was buried with the rites usual in the case of great 
emperors, and a pagoda was built over his bones as over 
those of a saint. 

Pegu under Byinnya Ran. In 1491 Dham- 
mazedi's son, Byinnya Ran, became Mng. He ruled 
for thirty-five years, and his reign was almost as peace- 
ful as his father's. The armies of Pegu moved twice 
only. The first time was when a feeble attack was made 
on the kingdom of Ava by way of the Irawadi. The second 
expedition was against Taungu. Minkyinyo had built a 
fort to protect his capital, and the Talaings tried to capture 
it. The attack was defeated before the arrival of the 
Burmese troops sent to the help of Taungu. This faUure 
was unfortunate for Pegu. The king of Ava now recognised 
the independence of Taungu (Chapter VII.), and the two 
states were on friendly terms. But Taungu regarded Pegu 
as a bitter enemy, and Minkyinyo prepared for war. Both 
he and Byinnya Ran died before the war broke out. 


Tabin Shwehti conquers Pegu. Minkyinyo ruled 
in Taungu from 1485 to 1530. He was a descendant 
of Tarokpyemin, and the Burmans who disliked the rule of 
Thohanbwa migrated to Taungu in order to be under 
a Burmese king. Thohanbwa was very cruel to the Burmese 
monks, and this cruelty also caused large numbers of 
Burmans to leave Ava and settle in Taungu during Minky- 


iiiyo'8 reign. Minkyinyo's successor, Tabin Sliweliti, a boy 
of sixteen years, continued the preparations for war on Pegu. 
He took'fotir years to get ready, and then in 1534 marched 
on the capital. The Takings, led by Shans, fought bravely, 
and the invaders were driven out. In 1536 they again 
attacked and captured Dagon, Bassein and Myaungmya, 
but again failed to take Pegu. Finally in 1538 Pegu was 
captured, and the king, Taka-yut-bi, fled to Prome, where 
his brother-in-law was ruhng. 

Attack on Prome. The king of Pegu was pursued to 
Prome by Bayin Naung, who was the brother-in-law of Tabin 
Shwehti, chief general of the army, and heir to the throne 
or Ein-she-min. The king, with a flotilla of boats, sailed 
up the Irawadi, and Prome was besieged. Thohanbwa 
of Ava was afraid that if Prome fell Ava would be in 
danger. So he came to the assistance of Prome with an 
army of Shans. Before any serious battle took place Tabin 
Shwehti heard that the viceroy of Martaban was preparing 
to oppose him. He therefore withdrew his army from 
Prome and hastened to Martaban. Neither the king of 
Prome nor the king of Ava was willing to help Taka-yut-bi 
to regain his kingdom. With a few followers he left Prome, 
and died in the jungle on his journey southward in 1540. 

Capture of Martaban. At this time Martaban 
was an important port trading with Europe. The viceroy 
was a brother-in-law of Taka-yut-bi. He had allowed the 
Portuguese to build a factory or trading station there. They 
supplied him with ships, guns and men to defend Martaban 
against the armies of Taungu. The town was protected by 
a moat and a rampart. On the other side of the river was 
a strong stockade. Tabin Shwehti tried to persuade the 
viceroy to give up the town by promising him money and 
a high position. The viceroy refused, but the commander 
of the stockade was induced to join the enemy and hand 


over the stockade. A Portuguese naval officer and seven 
hundred men also joined the army of Taungu. After a 
siege lasting seven months Martaban was captured, plun- 
dered and burned. Tabin Shwehti promised to spare 
the viceroy's life, but shamefully broke that promise and 
put him to death with all his family. (1540 a.d.) 

Capture of Prome. Tabin Shwehti left an army 
on the Thaungyin river to protect his kingdom against 
Shan attacks and returned to Pegu. He placed new Mis 
or canopies on the great pagodas at Pegu and Dagon. In 
this way he made known his claim to be king of the Talaings. 
At the same time he took care not to offend them, for he 
wished to make Ava and Pegu one kingdom under a Bur- 
mese king. When he returned to the attack on Prome in 
1541 he found that Min Bin, king of Arakan, had sent an 
army to help Thohanbwa and his Shans in the defence of 
Prome. Both Shans and Arakanese were defeated, and 
Prome was besieged. Portuguese gunners served in 
Bayin Naung's army, and took an important part in the 
fighting. The city surrendered in June 1542. The king 
and queen, with three hundred of the chief men, were 
cruelly put to death. Tabin Shwehti returned to Pegu, 
where he cast an image of Gautama in pure gold ; perhaps 
he was sorry for his savage treatment of his prisoners at 
Martaban and Prome. A brother of Bayin Naung was 
left to govern Prome. 

Death of Thohanbwa. In the same year as 
Prome fell Thohanbwa was murdered by his own subjects. 
His cruelty, especially to the monks, angered both Burmans 
and Shans. Once he planned a general massacre of priests, 
and three hundred and sixty were killed, but more than a 
thousand of them escaped to Taungu or the Stan hills; 
The new king of Ava, a Shan, tried to capture Prome in 
1544. Bayin Naung defeated him and drove him back 



to Ava. At Pagan Tabin Shwehti was consecrated king, 
and Bayin Naung was declared Ein-she-min. The rulers 
of Prome, Taungu and Martaban did homage to Tabin 
Shwehti. The king for a time paid attention to the affairs 
of Pegu, and amongst other useful works made the road 
from Pegu to Taungu, known as the Minlan or King's 

Invasion of Arakan and Siam. Had Tabin 
Shwehti been wise he would have tried by good government 
to make his new kingdom prosperous and contented. But 
he was not satisfied with what he had got. In 1544 a 
Talaing army invaded Arakan and took Sandoway, but 
could not advance northward to Myauk-u, the capital. 
In 1546 Tabin Shwehti himself went to Arakan in command 
of an army. He defeated the Arakanese, but faUed to 
capture Myauk-u. Learning that the Siamese had invaded 
Tavoy, he made peace with Min Bin and returned to Pegu. 
The invasion was a small affair and easily repulsed, but the 
king determined to punish the Siamese and to conquer 
their country. His chief friend at this time was a wicked 
and shameless young Portuguese, nephew of the captain 
of his Portuguese gunners. The king's cruelty at the 
capture of Prome and Martaban showed an ill-balanced 
mind. He was now maddened by drink also, and would 
not listen to wise counsel. So at the end of the year 1548 
he crossed the Salween and marched to the Menam, then 
along the river to Ayuthia. 

Tabin Shwehti's downfall. With heavy losses 
the Talaings fought their way through difficult country 
to Ayuthia. The city was too strong to be taken 
before the rainy season made the country a swamp, food 
was scarce and many were sick. By the advice of Bayin 
Naung the king determined to retreat. The Siamese 
followed the retreating army, and killed large numbers by 


their constant attacks. By a lucky chance the king of 
Siam's son-in-law was taken prisoner. The Siamese there- 
upon agreed to let the Talaing army retire to their own 
country in peace if the prince was given back to them. 
This was done,^ and the army reached Pegu within six 
months after setting out. The king gave himself up to 
drink and vice, and Bayin Naung governed the country 
as regent. In 1549 a son of Byinnya Ran, Thameintaw 
Rama, who had become a monk, threw ofi the yellow robe 
and declared himself king. Bayin Naung attacked him 
and his followers and pursued them into the western part 
of the delta, leaving the Talaing governor of the Sittaung 
province, Thameinsawdut by name, in charge of the king. 
This man persuaded Tabin Shwehti to go out into the jungle 
and see the capture of a white elephant. There he had 
the king murdered. The people of Pegu rose in rebellion 
and drove out the garrison with their commander, Thihathu, 
half brother of Bayin Naung. Thihathu occupied Taungu 
and Thameinsawdut became king in Pegu. 

Tabin Shwehti's failure. For two hundred and 
thirty years Ava and Pegu had been governed by kings 
of Shan race. Their rule was unpopular, and caused large 
numbers of Burmans and Talaings to take refuge in Taungu, 
where a Burmese kingdom grew up. Though the Talaings 
naturally preferred a Talaing Mng, they would have 
accepted a Burmese king in place of their Shan rulers. 
Many of the chief Talaings went over to the Burmese gide 
during the sieges of Pegu and Martaban. The people were 
tired of war, and would gladly have let Tabin Shwehti 
govern them in peace. But he was unwise and forced 
them into ruinous wars against Arakan and Siam. He 
was defeated, the Talaings rebelled, murdered him, and 
chose a Talaing king in his place. His successor, Bayin 
Naung, as will be seen in the following chapter, made the 


same mistakes. So the attempt to restore the empire of 
Anawrahta failed. 

Europeans in Burma. For hundreds of years 
trade between Europe and the Bast was carried on by way 
of the Persian Gulf and across Asia Minor, or by the Red 
Sea and the Isthmus of Suez. When the Turks conquered 
Asia Minor the merchants of Western Europe began to 
look for another road to the East. The great trading 
nations were the Portuguese, the Dutch and the English. 
They bought silk, muslins, carpets, ivory and gold from 
the East, but above all spices and pepper. The Portuguese 
were the first to find the way to India by sea round the 
Cape of Good Hope. The great Portuguese sailor, Vasco 
da Gama, landed in Calicut in 1498. In a few years the 
Portuguese had settled in Cochin and St. Thome near 
Madras. In 1510 they took Goa, which they made their 
capital in the East, and in 1511 they captured Malacca. 
In 1535 they were settled in Bombay and Diu. They 
hated Mahomedans and made friends with the Hindus. 
At the capture of Pegu, in 1538, a Portuguese ship, which 
had come from Goa to trade in Pegu, helped the Takings. 
About this time the governor of the province of Martaban 
allowed the Portuguese to settle in the town of Martaban. 
These took part in the fighting which ended in the capture 
of Martaban by Tabin Shwehti in 1540. In 1586 Ralph 
Fitch, the first Enghshman to visit Burma, came to Pegu. 
He had travelled across Asia Minor and down the Persian 
Gulf to India. He visited the court of Akbar, the great 
Indian emperor, at Agra, and then journeyed by Bengal 
and Chittagong to Pegu and Malacca. On his return to 
England he told all he had seen of the riches of India, and 
English merchants determined to have their share of the 
trade. The East India Company was formed in the year 
1600 to trade with the East Four years before, the first 


Dutch ships had sailed round the south of South Africa 
and landed in Java. The Dutch fought the Portuguese 
and in a few years took most of their Indian possessions 
from them. But they in their turn were driven out of 
India by the English, who had become the greatest naval 
power in the world. 


Bayin Naung conquers Taungu and Prome. 

Learning what had happened in Pegu, Bayin Naung gave 
up the pursuit of Byinnya Ran's son, Thameintaw Rama, 
and retired with a few followers to the hills east of Taungu. 
Thameintaw returned to Pegu, where he captured and killed 
Thameinsawdut and made himself king in his place. But ty 
the end of the year 1550 Bayin Naung had come down from 
the hills, taken Taungu and Prome, and conquered Burma 
as far north as Pagan. Then he returned to Taungu and 
prepared to invade Pegu. 

Conquest of Pegu. In 1551 he attacked Pegu 
with a small but well equipped army. He defeated Thame- 
intaw after a hard fought battle, and the city of Pegu sur- 
rendered. He then pursued Thameintaw, who fled to 
Martaban by sea in a canoe but was captured three months 
later and put to death. Bayin Naung spent the next 
two years in Pegu, where he built the great palace which 
European travellers of that time praised so highly. He 
made preparations also for the conquest of Ava. 

Conquest of Ava. In the year 1553 Bayin Naung's 
son led an army up the Irawadi valley as far a,s Tarokmyo, 


fifty miles north of Pagan. There he found large forces 
of Shans, and advanced no further. In the following year 
a fleet of war boats went up the river, while Bayin Naung 
with the main army and 400 Portuguese, armed with 
muskets, marched by land to Yamethin. There he divided 
his forces. One portion he sent under his brother, the 
viceroy of Taungu, to Panya. He himself, with the bulk 
of the army, joined the fleet at Pagan. While the fleet 
sailed to Sagaing, Bajdn Naung with his army marched 
along the west bank of the Chindwin, crossed it at Amyin 
and marched to Sagaing. Attacked on both sides, by 
Bayin Naung on the north and the viceroy of Taungu on 
the south, the Shans entrenched at Panya were driven 
into Ava, and the city was easily taken. The king left his 
brother Thadominsaw to govern Ava, and returned to Pegu 
in 1555. He sent ofierings to the sacred tooth at Kandy, 
regilded the pagoda at Taungu, and laid the foundations 
of the Mahazedi pagoda at Pegu. 

Conquest of the Shan States. A quarrel broke 
out between the Shan chiefs as to who should govern 
in Hsipaw. This gave Bayin Naung the chance to interfere. 
He collected an army, and ia 1557 and 1558 subdued 
Mohnyin and Mogaung on the Irawadi, and Hsipaw, Mone 
and Zimme on the Shan plateau. He reformed some of 
the Shan religious practices. He forbade their custom of 
sacrificing animals and slaves at the funeral of a chief, 
because it was contrary to Buddhist teaching. He also 
forbade the slaughter of animals by his Mahomedan subjects 
or strangers. Many foreigners were persuaded by him to 
become Buddhists. He pressed on the building of the great 
pagoda at Pegu, in which he deposited sacred rehcs, with 
goHen images of Buddha and his disciples and of the royal 

Invasion of Siam. In 1563 Bayin Naung repeated 


the folly of Tabin Shwehti. He picked a quarrel with the 
king of Siam, because some Siamese had fought with the 
Burmans on the frontier, and he demanded one of the 
white elephants of Siam. This was not given, so he invaded 
the country. Ayuthia was captured in March, 1564, and 
the king, his queens, and one of his two sons were taken 
prisoners to Pegu, together with three white elephants. 
The elder prince was l^t to govern Siam as a Burmese 
province. Bayin Naung then returned to Pegu, where a 
rebellion had broken out, leaving his son Nanda Bayin 
in command of the army. He found that the rebels had 
burned down many new buildings in the capital. These 
he restored, and built for himself a new palace of great 
splendour which took three years to finish. 

Rebellions in Pegu. Bayin Naung had very 
soon to leave the capital again, for the chiefs of Zimme 
and of Linzin (Luang Prabang) on the Mekong were giving 
trouble. Again he was recalled to Pegu by a rebellion 
headed by a Shan prisoner. Narabadi, king of Ava, who 
had been taken captive to Pegu in 1555, asked for troops 
and dispersed the rebels. Bayin Naung on his arrival 
pursued the rebels to Dalla and captured thousands of them. 
In the meantime Nanda Bayin had captured the chief of 
Zimme, and the Linzin chief had fled across the Mekong 

Second invasion of Siam. Bramahin, crown 
prince of Siam, was ruling in Ayuthia as the vassal of Burma. 
His fathfer, the late king, had become a priest, and was 
allowed to return to Siam. The king's second son died, 
and the queen with her daughters also returned to their own 
country. The late king now threw ofi the yellow robe, and 
with his son revolted. Bayin Naung led an army at the 
end of the year 1568 from Martaban into Siam. He de- 
feated the enemy who were attacking Pitsalauk, and laid 

C.B, D 


siege to AyutMa. The city was taken through the treachery 
of a Siamese noble, who opened the gates to the Burmese. 
The old king poisoned himself, and Bramahin was put to 
death. Bayin Naung then set out in pursuit of the chief 
of Linzin, who had attacked his army at Ayuthia. He 
failed, and returned to Pegu at the end of 1570, having lost 
the greater part of his troops. In the following year the 
Linzin chief was killed while fighting in Cambodia. 

Invasion of Arakan. The attempt to conquer 
Siam had failed, and the demand for Shan troops for the 
war on the Mekong against the chief of Linzin caused a 
revolt in Mohnyin and Mogaung. Of the rebel chiefs one 
was killed and the other captured after much trouble. 
The rebellions in Pegu showed how tired of war the people 
were. Nevertheless, the king determined to conquer 
Arakan, and in the autumn of 1580 a fleet of over a thousand 
ships with 80,000 men set sail. They were attacked near 
Cape Negrais by Portuguese ships, which captured a few 
of the Burmese. The rest landed and encamped at Sando- 
way to wait for the king. Bayin Naung intended to travel 
by land across theYoma to Sandoway. But he fell ill and 
was unable to leave Pegu. In November, 1581, he died, 
and his son Nanda Bayin, now king, recalled the army to 
Pegu. European travellers who visited Pegu in Bayin 
Naung's reign wrote glowing accounts of the wealth and 
splendour of the court and city of Pegu. They Could not 
know the misery and poverty of the people, worn out by 
continual wars. 

Burma and Ceylon. In the reign of Bayin Naung 
there was much friendliness between Pegu and Ceylon. 
In 1555 the Burmese king sent ofierings to the sacred tooth, 
and in 1574 the king of Ceylon sent a Sinhalese princess to 
be one of Bayin Naung's queens. Two years later a ship 
arrived at Bassein carrying a tooth of Buddha. Nobles 



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from the court of Pegu were sent to meet the ship with a 
costly golden casket in which they carried the sacred rehc 
to the capital. 


Rebellion of Ava. Uncles of the new king were 
ruling in Prome, Taungu and Ava. The prince of Ava 
tried to persuade his brothers to rebel against Nanda Bayin. 
The plot was discovered, and a number of the king's officers, 
who were suspected of treachery, were put to death with 
their wives and children. Gaspero Balbi, a jeweller of 
Venice who was travelling in the East, was at Pegu in 1583 
when the executions took place. He states that 4,000 
persons were burned to death on a big wooden platform. 
In the following year Nanda Bayin led an army to Ava and 
defeated his uncle at Panya. The two kings fought on 
elephants, and according to Balbi the king of Pegu had his 
elephant killed under him, but in the end killed the Idng of 
Ava. Others say that the king of Ava escaped to China 
and died there 

Invasions of Siam. Phra Naret, King of Siam, 
had come to Pegu to do homage to the new king, and had 
been ordered to follow with his army to Ava. Instead of 
doing so he returned to Siam, taking with him a number of 
Takings. Nanda Bayin determined to punish him, and 
between 1586 and 1593 four expeditions were led against 
Siam, one by Nanda Bayin himself and three by his son. 
All four were defeated with heavy loss, and in the last one 
the crown prince was killed. These troubles affected the 
king's mind, and he behaved like a madman. On suspicion 


of treachery lie put many of his oflQcers to death, and per- 
secuted and slew the Taking monks. Thousands of 
Takings crossed to Siam, as the Burmans had in former 
days migrated to Taungu. These Taking migrations 
continued till the British annexed Pegu. Phra Naret 
invaded the country by way of Martaban. The Siamese 
history states that he captured Pegu. But an army coming 
from Taungu drove him back to his own country, whither 
many Takings accompanied him. 

Revolt of the Provinces. In 1595 Ava, Prome 
and Taungu revolted. Eazagyi, King of Arakan, sent 
a fleet under the command of his son Min Khamaung to 
avenge the invasion of Arakan by Bayin Naung. In 1596 
this fleet seized Syriam, the chief port of the empire, and 
the Arakanese troops marched on Pegu, which was besieged 
by the army of Taungu. Phra Naret also came with an 
army from Siam, but he was too late. Before he arrived 
Pegu had been taken and sacked, and the kings of Taungu 
and Arakan had shared the plunder. Nanda Bayin was 
taken prisoner to Taungu and there put to death. Phra 
Naret, however, took possession of Martaban and Tavoy, 
and appointed Taking rulers to govern these provinces in 
his name. An Arakanese garrison was left in Syriam. 
The province of Pegu remained without ruler. War and 
famine had killed nearly the whole of the inhabitants. 
Crops had been destroyed, and there was such scarcity of 
food that men ate one another. Thus another attempt to 
make Burma and Pegu one kingdom had failed, and again 
because the kings had not the wisdom to leave Siam and 
Arakan alone. 

Rise of Ava. In the fighting at Pegu Ava had taken 
no part. Its prince, a half-brother of Nanda Bayin, was 
busy making himself master of Upper Bmma. The prince 
of Prome was murdered while he was preparing to make war 


on Ava. Ptra Naret advancing against Ava in 1605 died 
at Zimme, and his troops returned home. In that same 
year the prince of Ava died, and his son Maha Dhamma 
Raza succeeded him. For two years the new king was 
occupied in settling the Shan states imder his rule. Then 
he turned his attention to Lower Burma. In 1608 he 
attacked Prome, and after a siege of eight months took the 
city. Two years later he conquered Taungu. Natshin, 
who was ruling there, agreed to govern the province 
as the vassal of Ava and gave hostages. But he had 
already made an alliance with De Brito, the Portuguese 
governor of Syriam ; the latter objected to the new arrange- 
ment and prepared to attack Taungu. 

Rise of De Brito. Between 1510, when they 
took Goa on the west coast of India, and 1600, the Portu- 
guese had become very powerful ia the East. They had 
trading stations at Cochin, Martaban, Malacca, in Ceylon, 
and in the islands of the Malay Archipelago. Their ships 
sailed the Eastern seas, and they made large profits not 
only by trade but by open piracy. Their troops had fought 
against Tabin Shwehti as well as for him, and had served in 
Bayin Naimg's army. Many Portuguese were in the service 
of the king of Arakan. One of these, Philip de Brito, was 
appointed in 1600 agent of King Razagyi in Syriam, which 
Min Khamaung had seized in 1596. But he determined 
to make himself governor, and drive out the Arakanese. 
With the help of the Portuguese in Syriam he seized the 
fort and the Custom House and expelled the Arakanese 
commander of the garrison. Then leaving one Ribeiro 
in charge, he sailed for Goa. The Portuguese viceroy 
agreed to help him with ships and men, and gave him 
his niece in marriage. De Brito was appointed captain- 
general in Syriam and returned with a squadron of six 


De Brito, Governor of Syriam. During De 
Brito's absence the Arakanese commander returned with 
fresh troops, and with the help of the Talaings besieged 
Syriam. But Ribeiro held out till help came from Goa, 
and the Arakanese retired. Then he persuaded the Talaings 
to accept De Brito as their ruler. Thus when the captain- 
general arrived he was well received by the Talaings. His 
former master, Razagyi, exchanged polite messages with 
De Brito and accepted a rich present from him. At the 
same time Eazagyi aUied himself with Natshin of Taungu 
for an attack on Syriam, and sent Min Khamaung with a 
large fleet and army. The Portuguese defeated the fleet 
and captured Min Khamaung, who was well treated by 
De Brito. A second and larger expedition was sent, which 
defeated the small Portuguese fleet, but could not take the 
city. At last peace was made in 1604. Min Khamaung 
was set free on payment of a ransom, and the forces of 
Arakan and Taungu were withdrawn. Natshin of Taungu 
made an alliance with De Brito, and the governor of 
Martaban gave his daughter in marriage to De Brito's 
son Simon. 

Fall of De Brito. The Portuguese in the East 
had two chief objects, to make themselves rich and to 
convert the people to Christianity. Thus De Brito dese- 
crated the pagodas built by Bayin Naung in order to get 
the golden images and jewels buried in them, and forced 
thousands of the Talaings to become Christians. The 
people were naturally discontented and ready to turn 
against him. When Natshin of Taungu submitted to 
Maha Dhamma Raza, De Brito with the help of the governor 
of Martaban attacked Taungu (1612 a.d.), and took Natshin 
prisoner. Maha Dhamma Raza without delay marched 
on Syriam and besieged it long before De Brito was pre- 
pared for the attack. The Arakanese also sent a fleet. 


hoping to regain the port for themselves. But the Burmese 
defeated them and took all their ships. In April, 1613, 
the Talaings admitted the Burmese army into Syriam by 
night. The chief Portuguese leaders were executed, and 
De Brito, as a punishment for desecrating pagodas, was 
transfixed on a pole in front of his own house, and died 
after three days of agony. His son Simon was captured 
in Martaban and put to death. His wife, with other 
Portuguese, European and half-caste prisoners, was taken 
to Ava. Natshin died. The governor of Martaban agreed 
to hold that province as a vassal of Ava. The king of Siam 
sent an army to reconquer Martaban, but after advancing 
to Ye it returned without fighting. 


Reign of Maha Dhamma Raza. After the fall 
of Syriam the king of Ava encamped outside Pegu. It 
took four years to make the city once more suitable for the 
capital of the kingdom. In these four years Maha Dhamma 
Raza reconquered the whole of Bayin Nung's empire, but 
left Siam and Arakan wisely alone. He appointed viceroys 
to govern the provinces and made Pegu his capital. He 
preferred good government to conquest, and from 1616 
to 1628 there was peace in Burma. In the government 
of the country he used officers of various races, Burmans, 
Shans and Talaings. At the gate of his palace he hung a 
bell with an inscription in Taking and Burmese, inviting 
all who had any grievance to strike the bell so that the 
king might hear. His fame spread abroad, and envoys 


came from Bengal, Delhi, where Jehangir was king, and 
from the Sultan of Achin in Sumatra. He sent an envoy 
to Goa to explain his capture of Syriam, and offered to 
help the Portuguese against Arakan. The viceroy of Goa 
sent a mission in return, but nothing more was done. Trade 
was encouraged, and English trading stations were estab- 
lished at Syriam, Prome, Ava and Bhamo. The Dutch 
also had a factory at Bhamo, but they behaved so badly 
that a few years later both Dutch and English were expelled. 
Maha Dhamma Raza was murdered in 1628 on account of 
" an unutterable crime committed by his son." The murder 
took place in the palace on the west bank of the Pegu river, 
hence the king is known as " the king who passed away on 
the west side " (Anauk-bet-lun-Mindaya). 

Thado Dhamma Raza King. On the death of this 
good king his son, Min-re-deippa, who' was governor of 
Zimme, was at once consecrated in his place. His mother 
was a person of low birth, and he was not well liked. Thado 
Dhamma Raza, brother of the late king, was viceroy at 
Prome, and another brother ruled in Ava. These two 
united against Min-re-deippa and removed him. Thado 
Dhamma Raza became king (1629 a.d.) and ruled for 
nineteen years. His reign was disturbed by two rebellions, 
one of the Talaings and one raised by his nephew, son of 
the late governor of Ava. The nobles who joined in the 
latter revolt were cruelly burned to death with their wives 
and children. The king made Ava his capital, and to 
commemorate the return to Ava he built near Sagaing the 
Kaung-hmudaw pagoda on the model of the ancient dagobas 
of Ceylon. In it he buried a golden image of Buddha 
weighing as much as the king himself. At his death in 
1648 his son Bintale succeeded him. 

Wars with China. The Chinese emperors regarded 
Burma as a vassal state (see Chapters VI. and VIII.). 


CHnese officers were stationed in Burma to receive the 
tribute due to China. But it is fairly certain that from the 
time of Bayin Naung no tribute was paid, and the Chinese 
did not try to compel the Burmese kings to pay it. After 
the wars in Narabadi's reign (Chapter VIII.) there was 
peace between Burma and China for two hundred years. 
In 1643 the last of the Ming emperors of China, overthrown 
by €he Manchus, killed himself. His son Yunhli fled to 
Yunnan and made himself king there. He demanded taxes 
from the Shan states on the frontier, which were under 
Burmese rule. Bintale therefore sent an army against him, 
but Yunhli defeated it (1651 A.D.). In 1658, however, a 
Manchu army came down to Yunnan and he fled to Teng- 
yueh. On payment of one hundred viss of gold to the 
Burmese king he was allowed to settle with his followers at 
Sagaing. In the 'following year the Chinese who were 
driven out of Yunnan by the Manchus plundered Upper 
Burma and attacked the city of Ava. The attack was 
beaten ofi mainly by the Christian gunners, descendants 
of the captives taken at Syriam by Maha Dhamma Raza. 
Pyi Min succeeds Bintale. The Chinese troops 
had destroyed the crops and there was a famine. Rice 
was sold at a high price, and the people believed that 
the officers of the court had bought most of the supply in 
order to sell it at a big profit. They blamed the king for 
this and rebelled. The king's brother, who was governor 
at Prome, headed the rebels and seized the palace. Bintale 
and his family were drowned, and his brother became king 
with the title of Maha Pawara Dhamma Raza (1661 a.d.). 
He is generally known, however, as Pyi Min or Prome King. 
He determined to seize Yunhh, who, he thought, was 
hoping to conquer Burma. So he summoned the Chinese 
to meet him at a certain pagoda and take an oath of loyalty. 
A quarrel arose and the Chinese were killed, except Yunhli 


and his family. Shortly afterwards a Manchu army 
entered Burma and marched down to the Aungpinle lake 
near Ava. The general demanded that Yunhli should be 
given up. In order to avoid war Pyi Min handed over 
Yunhli and his family, who were taken to China. Yunhli 
died or was put to death in Pekin. While these events 
were happening at Ava, the Takings, with the aid of the 
Siamese, rebelled and seized Tavoy, Martaban and Zimme. 
They were spon defeated, and Pyi Min ruled in peace till 

The Empire breaks up. During the next forty 
years the empire, under weak kings, began to fall to pieces. 
The Manipuris conquered the Kale-Kabaw valley, and 
Zimme with other frontier states became independent. 
Sinbyushin ruled from 1714 to 1733. In his reign an 
Arakanese army captured Prome and advanced up the 
Irawadi as far as Malun, then retired. He tried in vain to 
reconquer Zimme and the Kale-Kabaw valley. For a time 
he resided at Pegu, where the bad government of the 
viceroys was making the Talaings discontented. He was 
followed by his son Dibati, in whose reign the Manipuris 
twice invaded the country and plundered the people. In 
their second raid in 1738 they reached Sagaing, but were 
unable to take the town. The governor of Pegu thought 
this a good opportunity to make himself king, but the 
Talaings slew him. Then Dibati sent his uncle to Pegu 
as viceroy. But a colony of Shans living near Pegu re- 
belled and marched on the city. The Taking chiefs joined 
them ; they slew the viceroy and made one of the Shans, 
an ex-monk, king, with the title of Mintara Buddha Kethi 
(1740 A.D.) 

Pegu independent. The army which Dibati sent 
to Pegu to reconquer Pegu had to be recalled to repel 
another Manipuii attack. So the new king of Pegu was 


left in peace. The Talaings, however, were not content 
with this, and, against the king's advice, attacked Upper 
Burma by way of the Irawadi. The Talaing army was 
defeated with great loss (1743 A.D.). Tatmgu was next 
attacked by the Talaings and taken. But while the army 
was thus engaged, the Burmese governor of Proms took 
Syriam. There he destroyed the British factory established 
by the East India Company in 1709. The Talaings soon 
drove him back to Prome, which they captured. In 1746 
the Talaings advanced up the river from Prome. They 
were heavily defeated by the Burmans and driven back, 
Mintara now resolved to give up his kingdom. With his 
queen, daughter of the chief of Zimme, he retired to Zimme. 
His father-in-law did not welcome him, and for some time 
he wandered in the Lao country. Then he was allowed to 
return to Zimme and end his days there. 

Byinnya Dala, King of Pegu. To succeed 
Mintara -the master of the elephants, by name Byinnya 
Dala, was chosen. He was a native of Zimme who had 
risen from humble rank to a high position at court. He 
appointed Dalaban commander-in-chief of the army, and 
said he would make himself king of all Burma. Dibati, 
king of Ava, sent messengers with tribute to China in 1750 
and 1751 to ask for help. The Chinese sent officers, with 
an escort of a thousand men, to Ava, but these returned 
without giving Dibati any promise of assistance. The 
king himself did little or nothing to prepare for war. After 
preparations lasting five years, Byinnya Dala's army under 
Dalaban set out for Malun in the autumn of 1751. In the 
army were a number of Dutch and Portuguese, and many 
of the Talaings had guns bought from European ships that 
traded with Syriam. The expedition reached Ava without 
difficulty, and besieged it. In March, 1752, the city sur- 
rendered, and the king was taken prisoner to Pegu, where 


he was well treated. - Ava was destroyed by fire, and the 
Burmese kingdom seemed to be at an end. Yet at that 
very moment a Burman officer, less than a hundred miles 
from Ava, was making plans which in five years brought 
about the final overthrow of the Takings. 


Alaungpaya's rebellion. At a village in the 
Tabayin district there Uved a subordinate Burman official 
(kyegaing) who declined to accept a king from Pegu and 
resolved on armed resistance. So he gathered about him 
a band of followers. When Dalaban in accordance with 
his instructions sent out detachments to collect the revenue 
for the Talaing king, a party of fifty men arrived at an 
adjacent village, and the officer in charge summoned the 
kyegaing to appear before him. The latter obeyed, but 
came with a party of armed men equal in number to the 
Takings, whom he surprised and destroyed. He then 
wrote to the governor of Ava saying that the Burmans had 
attacked the Takings in a fit of sudden anger and that he 
hsiji been unable to restrain them, that he was sorry for the 
accident, but he could not prevent it. He set to work to 
fortify his native village in case his explanation was not 
accepted ; and when a larger force was sent against him he 
ambushed them in the jungle and defeated them. A second 
detachment suffered the same fate, and refugees from Ava 
rallied round the Burmese leader, who bore the name 
Aungzeya, " the Victorious," but is generally known in 
history as Alaungpaya or Alaungmindaya, " The Great 


Pretender." His native village was Moksobomyo, "the 
town of the hunter chief " ; it is now called Shwebo. 

Alaungpaya's success. Alaungpaya was now joined 
by large numbers of his countrymen, who were 
impressed with his ability and good fortune. To mark the 
national' character of his rebellion he gave orders that 
Burman and Shan troops in the army of Pegu were to be 
spared in the hour of victory, but Talaings were to be 
slain. In spite of his successes and the growing numbers 
of his followers, the rebellion was not regarded at Ava as a 
very serious matter, and the Crown Prince returned to Pegu 
with the greater part of the army and flotilla on receipt of 
a report that Siam was threatening invasion. Dalaban, 
however, thought it advisable to take measures to stamp 
out the rebellion, and in May, 1752, he advanced on 
Shwebo in person at the head of a detachment. His attack 
failed ; and having built and garrisoned a stockade to the 
north of Shwebo, in order to intercept the supplies which 
Alaungpaya drew from the district of Tabayin, he withdrew. 
His retirement was harassed by the Burmans, and the 
stockade was captured by Alaungpaya a few days after his 
departure. Dalaban was recalled and an officer from 
Taungu was sent in his place, with one of Dalaban's 
colleagues as his second in command. But the change did 
not improve matters, and successive defeats gradually 
weakened the Taking forces. 

Alaungpaya takes Ava. The captive Dibati's son, 
who was hiding in the mountains, now proposed to take 
advantage of Alaungpaya's success, and joined him with 
a force of several thousand men. But when Alaungpaya 
made it clear that he had no intention of fighting merely in 
order to put the prince on the throne, the latter escaped to 
a stockade at Madaya where a few Shan troops still held 
out. When this was captured by Alaungpaya, the garrison, 


including tte Burmese prince, fled to Momeit. Alaungpaya 
made his designs clear by building for himself a palace at 
ShWebo, which he proposed to make his capital with the 
name of Ratanatheinga. He claimed to be descended 
from the ancient Burmese royal race, and he was universally 
accepted as the national sovereign. The expulsion of the 
Talaings from Ava first claimed his attention. His younger 
son, Maung Lauk or Thado Minsaw, was put in command 
of a flotilla which descended the river to Ava in December, 
1753. Before the investment of the capita] was complete, 
the commander of the Talaing troops, being assured that 
the inhabitants of the city would join the attacking force, 
withdrew by night and made good his retreat with little 
loss. The Burmese troops occupied the city, and Alaung- 
paya with his chief ofiicers came down and took possession. 
Maung Lauk was appointed governor. A temporary palace 
was erected outside the walls, and orders were issued for 
the restoration of pagodas and other sacred buildings 
injured in the course of the war. 

The Talaings again invade Burma. Within 
two years from the fall of Ava in 1752 almost the whole 
effects of the Talaing conquest had disappeared. The only 
permanent result was the creation of a new dynasty in 
Burma. It was, however, likely that Pegu would make 
an attempt to regain what had been lost, and in order to 
be free to deal with Pegu, Alaungpaya lost no time in 
settling the affairs of the Shan states. He proceeded up 
the river in his state barge, and summoned the Shan chiefs 
to appear and swear allegiance to him. The chiefs of 
Momeit and Bhamo obeyed the summons, but he had to 
be content with messages of loyalty and obedience from 
Mogaung and Mohnyin. To the south Prome was already 
in the hands of the Burmans, so that the Talaing army 
which set out early in 1754 was confronted with a more 


difficult task than that which faced the expedition of 1751. 
The second expedition was equal in strength to the former 
one, and was again under the command of the Crown PHnce 
and Dalaban. The same route as before was taken, the 
army going by land to Prome, where it met the flotilla. 
A division was detached to blockade Prome, and the main 
army proceeded without opposition as far as Tarokmyo. 
There it encountered and defeated a Burmese force under 
Alaungpaya's sons, Naungdawgyi and Maung Lauk. The 
elder returned to Shwebo to entreat his father's forgive- 
ness for the reverse, whUe Maung Lauk entered Ava and 
made vows and offerings in order to propitiate the Nats 
and retrieve his ill-fortune. 

Relief of Ava and Prome. Maung Lauk was 
now besieged in Ava, but Alaungpaya made no immediate 
efiort to relieve the city, and contented himself with 
watching from Shwebo the course of events. Once, how- 
ever, when a flotilla reconnoitred the upper waters of the 
Irawadi, he left Shwebo and drove the enemy back with 
heavy loss. Dalaban, following up the reconnaissance, was 
forced to retreat. This incident made the Talaings 
cautious, and they were besides hampered by want of 
supplies. Before the rains arrived to complete their dis- 
comfort, Maung Lauk, in May, 1754, sallied from Ava and 
drove the investing force from its positions. The flight 
which ensued was only checked at Prome. Here Dalaban 
collected his scattered forces, while the Crown Prince pushed 
on to Pegu. Alaungpaya did not wish to enter Lower 
Burma in the rainy season, so he merely sent a strong 
detachment which compelled the Taking general to retire 
to a position near Shwedaung, eight miles further south, 
and thus relieved the starving Burmese garrison. 

Prome again attacked. The king of Pegu fully 
realized the importance of recapturing Prome, and prepared 


another army with Dalaban as general. Before the 
departure of the expedition, the captive Burmese king, 
Dibati, was put to death on the charge of having taken 
part in a conspiracy against the king of Pegu. At the 
same time the other Burmese prisoners were slain. These 
murders angered the Burmese subjects of Pegu, and in 
Prome, Danubyu, and other places where Burmans were 
numerous, massacres of Takings followed. When the 
expedition reached Prome the siege was at once renewed. 
Detachments were posted on the Nawinchaung and further 
north to prevent the relief of the city by Alaungpaya, but 
the assault was not pressed with vigour. Alaungpaya 
started down the river, and coming into contact with the 
Peguan outposts at Malfln captured several war-boats ; 
the army on the east bank drove the Talaings out of their 
entrenchments on the Nawinchaung, and Prome was 
relieved in January 1755. The besieging army still held a 
fortified position south of Prome, defended by a strong 
garrison armed with guns. The first attacks were repulsed, 
and some weeks elapsed before a determined assault, 
directed by Alaungpaya himself and attended with great 
slaughter, carried the position. A great store of provisions, 
ammunition and guns was captured. 

Capture of Rangoon. In April 1755 Alaungpaya 
continued his journey down the river. He captured Lun- 
hse, which he renamed Myanaung or " speedy victory," 
and took Henzada, Danubyu, and Dagon. At the last- 
named place he marked out a site for a new city, and to 
show his confidence in his own success called it Rangoon, 
" the end of strife." Bassein had been occupied earlier in 
the year without much difficulty, but Syriam, the chief 
port, and Pegu, the capital, still remained to be captured. 
The rains now put a stop to all serious military operations 
in the delta, and in September Alaungpaya was recalled to 


Upper Burma by the news of a Shan rising. Shan sup- 
porters of the Burmese prince, Dibati's son, had invaded 
Burmese territory from Mogaung. Alaungpaya crushed 
the rebellion, dethroned the Sawbwa, and definitely annexed 
Mogaung to Burma. Thenceforward the ruler of Mogaung 
was appointed from Ava. 


English and French in Burma. The invasion 
of Pegu brought Alaungpaya into contact with the English 
and the French. About the year 1600 the Dutch and 
English both began to trade in the East, and the Portuguese 
were gradually driven out. Seventy years later French 
traders arrived and formed settlements in India. After 
the capture of Syriam in 1613 by Maha Dhamma Eaza 
English and Dutch traders replaced the Portuguese in 
Syriam, but were expelled some years later on account of 
trouble in the trading station at Bhamo. In 1709 a British 
resident was appointed in Syriam to look after the interests 
of British trade. The island of Negrais had been occupied 
by the British in 1687 and a factory established at Bassein. 
When Alaungpaya's troops occupied Bassein British 
property was respected, and guns and gunpowder were 
supplied to the Burmans by the British agent there. At 
Syriam there was a French as well as a British factory, and 
both French and British ships were in the river when the 
Burmese attacked that place. The chief British agent, Mr. 
Brooke, favoured the cause of Alaungpaya, while the French 
supported the Takings. But since the security of both 


French and English depended on the favour of the ruling 
prince, both were desirous to be on the side of the final 
victor, and their conduct was not always free from suspicion. 
The French expected the final victory of Alaungpaya, and 
their chief agent visited Alaungpaya's camp, where he was 
well received. At the same time Captain Jackson of the 
" Arcot," a British ship which had recently arrived in the 
river, received letters from the Crown Prince, then at 
Syriam, and began to show sympathy for the Taking cause. 

English and French assist the Talaings. The 
news of the rising in the Shan states, and Alaungpaya's 
consequent departure for Upper Burma, made his success 
appear very doubtful, and both English and French now 
began to favour the Talaings. In an attack on the Burmese 
position shortly after Alaungpaya's departure, both French 
and English ships took part. Mr. Brooke disapproved of 
their action and ordered all the EngUsh ships to Negrais 
except the " Arcot," which was to remain at Syriam for 
repairs. In spite of these events Alaungpaya granted the 
English permission to establish a factory at Rangoon as 
well as at Bassein, but resolved to destroy Syriam. Even 
while the British officers were negotiating this matter with 
Alaungpaya at Shwebo, British and French ships joined in 
another attack on the Burmese camp. On this occasion, 
however, the Talaings seized the ships and put troops on 
board who compelled the crews to fight, though there is 
Uttle doubt that Captain Jackson of the " Arcot' " connived 
at the plan. When Alaungpaya reached Syriam again at 
the beginning of 1756 the British ships had all been with- 
drawn, and only one French ship remained with the French 
agent on board. 

Capture of Syriam. After a siege of six months 
Alaungpaya succeeded in capturing Syriam in July 1756. 
The French agent gave himself up early in the siege and 


was kept a prisoner. The British subordinates of the 
factory, who had been imprisoned by the Talaings, were 
released. Soon after the fall of the town a French ship 
laden with military stores arrived in the river from 
Pondicherry, and Alaungpaya compelled the French agent 
to write a letter to the captain ordering him to bring his ship 
to Syriam. When he found that these stores were intended 
for the Talaings, he put to death the agent as well as the 
captain and officers of the ship. The stores, together with 
a large quantity of material found in the fort, he seized for 
his own use. A number of French and Portuguese who 
were captured in the ships or in Syriam were sent up country, 
where their descendants still occupy a number of Christian 
villages between the lower course of the Chindwin and the 
Irawadi. These villages were permitted by the Burmese 
kings to enjoy the services of a Roman Catholic pastor. 

Siege of Pegu. While Alaungpaya was in Upper 
Burma settling the country after the suppression of the 
Shan rising, he had arranged for the despatch of a Shan 
force to assist in the attack on Pegu. Two months after 
the fall of Syriam this force was at Sittaung, east of Pegu, 
and a month later the capital was closely besieged. An 
appeal for mercy made to Alaungpaya by a deputation of 
monks was without effect. In three months the city was 
starved into submission. By the advice of the council of 
nobles the king's daughter was ofiered to Alaungpaya in 
order to win his good-will. The princess was betrothed 
to Dalaban, who, having opposed this plan in vain, left the 
city by night with his family and a few followers, broke 
through the Burmese lines, and escaped to Sittaung. 
Alaungpaya made an ambiguous reply to the envoys, but 
the Talaings chose to regard his answer as favourable ; and 
the princess, preceded by the Crown Prince and many nobles, 
and accompanied by a hundred attendant maids, was 


received into the camp of Alaungpaya and conducted to 
his temporary palace. 

Capture of Pegu. Hostilities were now suspended, 
and many Burmans and some Shans in the city surrendered 
to Alaungpaya and were put to death. The surrender of 
the king's brother and son-in-law, who had held commands 
iu the army at Prome, was demanded and refused. The 
Crown Prince, who had been detained in the Burmese camp 
when he accompanied the princess thither, was sent to one 
of the city gates to summon his relatives to leave the city, 
but the designs of Alaungpaya were suspected, and none 
accepted the invitation. Finally the city was captured 
in a night assault and given up to plunder, the king being 
taken prisoner (May 1757). Most of the leading citizens, 
Lucluding the monks, were massacred, and thousands were 
sold into slavery. Dalaban, who had escaped to Sittaung, 
was afterwards captured and entered the service of 
Alaungpaya, with whom he remained until the king's death. 

Expeditions against Tavoy, the Shans, and 
Manipur. After the capture and destruction of the 
Taking capital, Alaungpaya proceeded southwards and 
conquered Tavoy and Mergui, which were in the possession 
of the Siamese. He left Burmese garrisons there, and 
having appointed Burmese governors in Martaban and all 
the delta districts, returned to Shwebo. On his way up the 
river he met, near Danubyu, an ofi&cer from the British 
settlement at Negrais, to whom he gave a royal order 
securing the British in the possession of Negrais and 
granting them a site for a factory at Bassein, though he 
severely criticised the behaviour of the British ships at 
Sjnriam. In the following year, 1758, he made an expedition 
into Manipur. The Raja of that state, who had invaded 
Burma in 1738, had been dethroned eleven years later by 
his son and had fled to Burma. In 1754 Manipuris had 


again invaded Burma, and Alaungpaya now announced 
his intention of settling the succession in Manipur. His 
army met with no opposition, for all the inhabitants sought 
refuge in the hills. The fortifications of the capital were 
destroyed ; and after receiving the submission of one or 
two minor chiefs, the king returned to Ava. 

Rebellion in Pegu. The next year, 1759, a 
rebellion broke out in Pegu, and Alaungpaya set out for 
Lower Burma in the middle of the rains, having sent an 
army on ahead. The governor of Pegu had practically 
extinguished the rebellion before the king reached Rangoon, 
but suspicions of British interference were aroused by the 
arrival of the " Arcot " in Rangoon during the rebellion. 
The agent on board, Mr. Whitehill, was arrested and sent 
to Alaungpaya at Prome, and released only on payment of 
a heavy ransom. When the king reached Rangoon his 
suspicions seemed to be confirmed by false reports, spread 
by an Armenian named Gregory and a French agent, 
Lavine, from motives of jealousy, to the effect that the 
British at Negrais had sold arms and ammunition to the 
rebels. He therefore issued orders that the settlement was 
to be destroyed. A treacherous massacre was planned, in 
which the whole of the company's servants at Negrais, 
including ten Europeans and about a hundred Indians, 
were murdered. A few escaped and reached British ships 
in the harbour, and others were taken prisoners to Rangoon. 

Invasion of Siam and death of Alaungpaya. 
Like several of his predecessors, Alaungpaya brought his 
career to an end by a foolish attack on Siam. This country 
had since the days of Nanda Bayin been the refuge of 
conquered and discontented Takings, who were at this time 
raiding Tavoy, now a Burmese province. The Burmese 
governor had declared himself independent and required 
punishment. Finally, the Siamese king had refused to give 


Alaungpaya one of his daughters in marriage. For all 
these reasons the king determined on an invasion of Siam 
by way of Tavoy, and in December 1759 he left for Martaban 
accompanied by his son Maung Lauk. At Martaban he 
put to death the Talaing governor, who was suspected of 
treachery. On the arrival of the army at Tavoy, the 
governor of that place gave himself up and was executed. 
The Siamese advance guard was met near Tenasserim, but 
the first serious engagement occurred near Meklong, which 
Alaungpaya reached by the coast route, having crossed the 
peninsula south of Tenasserim. The Siamese were defeated, 
and the Burmese army advanced to Ayuthia and besieged 
it. It was important that the city should be captured 
before the rain should set in. But Alaungpaya was not 
prepared for a long siege, and the city was too strong to be 
taken by assault. He therefore pretended that he came as 
a Bodhisatva to preach the law of holiness, but the Siamese 
ridiculed his claims. Within a week of his arrival at Ayuthia 
the siege was abandoned, and the army retreated north- 
wards along the Menam Valley as far as Raheng, then 
turned westwards and passed by way of Myawadi into 
Burmese territory. The march was greatly harassed by 
the Siamese, who inflicted considerable loss on the retreating 
army. The chief reason for this sudden and rapid retreat 
was the seizure of the king by mortal sickness. He was 
borne the whole way in a litter ; but, before he could reach 
Martaban, he died at Taikkala in May 1760. His body was 
carried through Pegu and Rangoon to Shwebo, and there 
burned with the honours due to an emperor. 




Naungdawgyi king. It had been the wish of 
Alaungpaya that his six sons by his first wife should each 
succeed to the throne in turn. Three of the six did actually 
rule. The eldest son, Naungdawgyi, had remained in 
Shwebo as heir-apparent and regent when his father and 
his younger brother, Maung Lauk or Myedu Min, went on 
the expedition to Siam. He succeeded to the throne with- 
out opposition. But the commander-in-chief of Alaung- 
paya's army, Minhla Eaza or Min Khaung Nawrahta, 
rebelled and led the forces under his command to Taungu. 
The governor of that province tried to arrest him, but he 
evaded capture and marched on Ava, which he occupied 
without much difficulty. The king sent him a message from 
Shwebo inviting him to come to the court and to have no 
fear, but he distrusted the king's sincerity and declined. 
The king therefore led an army to Sagaing, which he made 
his temporary capital, and laid siege to Ava. A siege of 
four months produced a famine in the city ; and seeing that 
surrender was inevitable, the general escaped with a few 
horsemen to the jungle, where he was shot (December 1760). 

British Envoys at Sagaing. It was while the 
siege of Ava was in progress that Captain Alves, who had 
been in command of one of the English ships at Negrais 
and had witnessed the massacre on the island, arrived with 
letters from India demanding reparation for the murder 
of British subjects. The Burmese replied that the British 
had taken part in the rebellion at Pefi;u and had brought 
punishment upon themselves. Compensation was refused, 
and the envoy was treated with discourtesy. At the same 


time the king confirmed. Alauiigpaya's concession of a site 
for tlie British, factory at Bassein, and ordered the release 
of certain British subjects who had been taken at Negrais 
and imprisoned in Rangoon. 

Rebellion in Taungu. Death of the king. 
On the death of Alaungpaya the Talaing general Dalaban 
had taken service with the king of Zimme, and in the 
following year, 1761, he invaded Martaban. The king of 
Burma was at this time engaged in the siege of Taimgu, 
where the governor, his uncle, had shut himself up and 
declined to appear at court when summoned. Dalaban 
appeared to meditate an attack on the besieging army, 
but eventually retired to the country between the Salween 
and Thaungyin. Taungu having been captured and the 
governor pardoned, the pursuit of Dalaban was undertaken. 
He was captured, together with his wife and children, and 
the capital of Zimme was occupied in 1763. The end of 
Dalaban is uncertain, but the chronicle states that his life 
was spared. Naungdawgyi died in November 1763. 

Sinbyushin king: attacks Siam. Maung Laukor 
Myedu Min became king with the title of Sinbyushin or 
" lord of the white elephant." He at once reorganised 
the kingdom, appointed new officials in all parts of his 
dominions, and gave orders for the restoration of Ava, which 
was a more convenient capital than Shwebo. He also made 
preparations for an attack on Siam to avenge his own and 
his father's defeat four years before. A large force was 
stationed in Zimme under Thihapate, and another in Tavoy 
under Maha Nawrahta. The northern force was first to 
move in the cold season of 1764. The territory of Zimme 
was thoroughly subdued, and an advance made on Linzin. 
The king of that country marched out to meet the Burmans, 
but was defeated and submitted. The Shan states in the 
neighbourhood of Lagun, where Thihapate fixed his head- 


quarters, were also subdued, and the army was thus secured 
against any attack in the rear during the final advance, which 
began in the rainy season of 1765. The several columns 
met with considerable resistance from local chiefs before 
they assembled again at Pitsalauk. Following the valley 
of the Menam, Thihapate repulsed a Siamese attack with 
heavy loss, and took up a position to the east of Ayuthia five 
months after leaving Lagun. Meanwhile Maha Nawrahta 
remained at Tavoy till the middle of October, then, 
crossing the mountains north of Mergui, he followed the 
coast route taken by Alaungpaya, but from Meklong 
marched north-west and advanced on Ayuthia by way of 
Kamburi. He defeated the Siamese in a severe engagement 
to the west of Ayuthia and encamped near the city to wait 
for Thihapate. On the arrival of his colleague he moved 
his camp to the north of the city and joined forces with him. 
Capture of Ayuthia. The Siamese made another 
desperate attempt to beat off the Burmese forces, but were 
again badly defeated. The Burmans now drew a line of 
entrenchments round the city and prepared to reduce it by 
famine, since it was too strong to be taken by assault. The 
Siamese hoped that the advent of the rainy season would 
bring relief, and many of the Burmese officers advised 
Maha Nawrahta to retreat to higher ground before the 
river should flood his camp. Both generals, however, 
decided to remain where they were, and made preparations 
to meet the rise of the river by collecting boats and building 
embankments, and by occupying such portions of high 
ground as were not covered when the floods came. These 
measures proved successful, and although the Siamese 
attacked various isolated detachments of the Burmese 
army, they failed to achieve any solid success. When the 
floods subsided the earthworks were restored, and the in- 
vestment became even closer than before. Maha Nawrahta 


died shortly after having refused to grant terms to the 
king of Siam, but the siege was not relaxed and reinforce- 
ments arrived from Ava. In a general assault in April 1767, 
the garrison being too enfeebled by famine to resist, the 
city was captured and destroyed by fire. The queen and 
royal family were taken prisoners to Ava, and large stores 
of war material and vast treasures were captured. The 
fate of the king, Ekadatha Raja, is uncertain. His brother 
thought he recognised his body amongst the slain, but 
another account states that he escaped to the hills. The 
Burmese army was at once ordered back to Ava, where 
fears were entertained of renewed Chinese invasions. A 
quarrel had arisen out of a commercial dispute, and two 
invasions had already been repulsed. 

Manipuri invasion. Ava again the capital. 
Sinbyushin himself took no active part in the Siamese war, 
but busied himself with the punishment of the Manipuris 
and the removal of his capital to Ava. The Manipuris had 
planned an invasion of Burma and obtained a promise of 
help from the East India Company. Six companies of 
Sepoys were sent from Chittagong in 1763, but sickness 
and heavy rains forced them to return before they reached 
Manipur, and the Raja of that state undertook the invasion 
unaided in the following year. The king determined to 
punish the Manipuris himself, leaving the conduct of the 
Siamese campaign to his generals. In 1764 he sent an 
army to Kani on the Chindwin, and travelling by river 
joined his troops there. He invaded Manipur and captured 
the Raja and many other prisoners, who were brought 
down to Ava, which the king reached in April 1765. 
Exactly a year later the restoration of Ava was com- 
pleted, and the king moved with his court down to the old 
capital, which once more became a centre of native industry 
and foreign trade. 


Causes of the Chinese war. The war with 
China arose out of two trivial quarrels. A Chinese 
merchant was arrested by the governor of Bhamo for 
disrespectful behaviour and sent down to Ava, where he 
was released. On his return to Bhamo he complained that 
in his absence his bales had been opened and goods stolen. 
He failed to obtain compensation, and when he went back 
to China he laid complaints both in Tengyueh and Yimnan. 
This was in the year 1765. Not long afterwards another 
dispute arose in Kengtung over the payment of money for 
goods sold by a Chinese merchant, and in the fight which 
followed a Chinaman was killed. In this case also the 
merchant concerned failed to obtain the compensation 
which he demanded, the surrender, namely, of the murderer 
or of a substitute, but was offered compensation in money. 
He returned to Yunnan and there lodged a complaint with 
the governor of the province. The latter, acting on the 
advice of certain Shan chiefs who were present in Yunnan, 
having fled there to avoid punishment for offences against 
the Burmese government, demanded the surrender of the 
murderer or his substitute for punishment. No reply was 
received, and Kengtung was invaded. The Sawbwa had 
been at Ava when the trouble first arose and had taken no 
active part in the dispute. He now, under compulsion, 
joined the Chinese. A Burmese force under the general 
Letwewinhmu marched to Kengtung in December 1765, 
and drove the Chinese army across the Mekong with the 
loss of its commander. The Sawbwa was allowed to return 
to his capital, and a Burmese garrison was left there. 
Another garrison under Balaminhtin was stationed on the 
Irawadi at Kaungton below Bhamo. 

Second Chinese invasion repulsed. In 1766 
a Chinese army advanced into Burma from Tengyueh 
(Momein), and one division attacked the fortified post at 


Kaungton ; but, failing to carry tte position by assault, the 
commander entrenched himself and waited for reinforce- 
ments, from the main army, which lay to the north. 
Meanwhile a Burmese force under Maha Sithu advanced 
by the west bank of the river on Mogaung, the governor 
of which seemed to be intriguing with the Chinese, and 
another detachment under Letwfewinhmu advanced by the 
river to Bhamo. The general relieved Kaungton, drove 
the Chinese from their entrenchments there, and dislodged 
a force which had occupied Bhamo. He followed up the 
enemy and inflicted other defeats upon them, driving them 
from all their positions near the river and destroying the 
boats they had collected for the voyage down to Ava. The 
other Burmese army under Maha Sithu had been equally 
successful. He had occupied Mogaung, strengthened the 
defences, and returned to the Irawadi before the Chinese 
could cross the river. There he surprised the enemy by a 
flank movement and cut to pieces one division of their 
troops ; the Burmese musketeers inflicted great loss also 
on their cavalry. The remnant of the expedition retreated 
into Chinese territory. A third Chinese column appeared 
in Burmese territory late in the campaign, marching by 
way of Theinni. Maha Thihathura, who was Lq command 
of a force stationed in Kianghung during the Siamese 
war just then concluded, advanced from the east, while 
Letwfewinhmu bore down upon the invaders from the north, 
and the Chinese, taken in both flanks, were driven back 
with great loss. The victorious Burmese troops arrived in 
Ava a few weeks after the fall of Ayuthia, and were joined 
two months later by the troops from Siam (July 1767). 
Burma resumed control of the Shan states along the Taping 
river. The Chinese prisoners were brought down to Ava, 
where they were given a special quarter of the city to live 
in and encotiraged to marry Burmese wives. 


Third Chinese invasion. The Burmese resist- 
ance to the Chinese troops, who greatly outnumbered them, 
had been most successful, and reflected great credit on both 
the soldiers and their leaders. Their success was to no 
small extent due to the artillery, which was served by 
Christian gunners, descendants of the captives from 
Syriam. The Chinese refused to accept their defeat as 
final, and in the cold season of 1767 another Chinese 
army invaded Theinni, while smaller columns marched 
against Bhamo and Momeit. The Sawbwa of Theinni 
submitted without resistance, and the Chinese built a 
stockade for the protection of their stores, intending to use 
Theinni as a base of operations. The Burmese army 
marched to meet the enemy in three columns ; one moved 
direct on Theinni by way of Hsum Hsai and Hsipaw, 
another to the east of Theinni in order to cut the enemy's 
communications, and a third northward to hold in chec'k 
the invaders advancing along the Shweli on Momeit. The 
plan was well conceived and proved successful. The first 
column under Maha Sithu was met by the Chinese who 
had advanced towards Hsipaw, and was overwhelmed by 
superior numbers. Maha Sithu Retreated along the valley 
of the Myitnge, followed in a very leisurely fashion by 
the Chinese. Meanwhile the second column under Maha 
Thihathura had entered the city of Theinni and blockaded 
the stockade to which the Sawbwa fled for protection. 
Detachments of Burmese troops captured another Chinese 
stockade at Lashio and seized the Taku ferry on the 
Salween, thus completely cutting off supplies. The com- 
mander of the garrison at Theinni, seeing no chance of 
escape, committed suicide, and the garrison, reduced by 
desertions and weakened by famine, surrendered. Leaving 
a garrison in Theinni, Maha Thihathura hastened after the 
Chinese column that had defeated Maha Sithu. The latter 


had taken up a position at Lonkapyingyi and was holding, 
the Chinese force at bay. While the Chinese general was 
hesitating whether he shbuld continue his advance or return 
to Theinni, Maha Sithu attacked him by night and defeated 
him. He retreated northward, and was joined by the 
divisions which had marched on Bhamo and Momeit. 
Maha Thihathura now united forces with Maha Sithu, and 
before the end of the year the Chinese troops had been 
driven across the Salween. 

Fourth Chinese invasion. Free for the moment 
from fear of the Chinese, Burma was alarmed by an 
earthquake, which badly damaged many pagodas, includ- 
ing the Shwezigon at Pagan and the Shwedagon at 
Rangoon. To avert disaster new htis or canopies were 
placed on these two pagodas, and many gold and silver 
images were deposited in the treasure chambers. The 
danger took the form of a fourth Chinese invasion, this 
time by the Taping Valley and Bhamo route. One detach- 
ment marched on Mogaung, whUe another set to work to 
prepare boats for a voyage down the Irawadi ; the main 
body took position in a stockade at Shwenyaungbin, twelve 
miles east of Kaungton. A determined assault was made 
on Kaungton by river and by land, but Balaminhtin again 
repulsed the attack and inflicted great loss on the enemy. 
Meanwhile Thihathu, commander of the king's artillery, 
had been sent off from Ava before the end of September, 
1769, to repel the attack on Mogaung, and a second army 
under Maha Thihathura followed somewhat slowly by 
river to Bhamo, the elephants and cavalry accompanying 
him along the east bank. When he reached Tagaung he 
received news of the state of affairs at Kaungton and sent 
on ahead reinforcements, which inflicted considerable loss 
on the Chinese flotilla, occupied an island near Kaungton, 
and built a stockade below it, thus controlling operations 


•on the river. When the main army reached Bhamo, Maha 
Thihathura made his headquarters on this island ; the 
cavalry and elephants, with a division of infantry, were 
placed under command of the Letwewinhmu, and a 
detachment was sent off to the nor,th-east to cut the Chinese 
communications. Letwfewinhmu, marching on Kaimgton 
from the east, defeated the Chinese, and the northern 
column also achieved its object. Half the Chinese forces 
retreated up the Taping Valley ; the remainder were com- 
pelled to take refuge in the great stockade at Shwenyaung- 
bin, which was carried by assault, large stores of arms and 
ammunition being captured. The general, with the un- 
wounded portion of his troops, escaped and joined the 
retreating army on the Taping. 

The Chinese sue for peace. The attack on 
Mogaung had been foiled by Thihathu, and the Chinese 
generals, seeing no hope of success at any point, proposed 
terms of peace. They put the blame for the war on the 
Satwbwas of Theinni, Bhamo, Mogaung, and Kiangyong, 
whom they proposed to yield to the Burmese in exchange 
for the Chinese officers taken prisoners in the war. The 
relations of the two countries were to be restored to the 
footing on which they stood before the war, and the Chinese 
army was to be allowed to retire unmolested. Maha 
Thihathura's officers urged him to press his advantage 
and utterly destroy the invaders, who were at his mercy. 
The general pointed out that the Chinese, defeated in 
three successive invasions, had entered upon a fourth, 
that their resources were far greater than the resources of 
Burma, and that if he refused terms now the war would 
certainly be renewed by China. In defiance of the wishes 
of the king, who had ordered the complete destruction of 
the invaders, the general made peace (December, 1769), 
and the Chinese army was escorted across the frontier. 





Many died on the homeward journey from fatigue and 

Reception of the news at Ava. The news of 
the wise arrangement which had been made by Maha 
Thihathura was received by the king with great anger 
and disgust. He showed his resentment by sending Maha 
Thihathura a woman's dress, as befitting a general so devoid 
of spirit ; and the families of the chief officers, including 
even Maha Thihathura's wife, sister of the principal queen, 
were made to stand for three days in the street at the 
western gate of the palace, bearing on their heads the 
presents which had been sent to Ava by the Chinese 
generals. The officers, on their return to Ava, were 
banished from the royal presence and from the capital 
for one month. The prudence and wisdom of Maha 
Thihathura's action in opposition to the king's commands 
was proved by the course of events. From this time 
onwards, although disputes occurred with reference to the 
sending of missions between Ava and Pekin, the peace 
between China and Burma was never broken. In the 
treaty it was laid down that letters were to be exchanged 
between the rulers of Ava and Pekin every ten years. The 
Chinese believed, or affected to believe, that the Burmans 
still accepted Chinese suzerainty and had promised tributary 
missions. CompUmentary missions from Ava were certainly 
sent at irregular intervals, and Chinese provincial missions 
came chiefly on commercial business from Yunnan. Perhaps 
an occasional mission was sent from Peldn ; one such is said 
to have reached Ava in 1823, and to have demanded in 
strong language a white elephant and a royal princess as 



Affairs in Siam. On the withdrawal of the 
Burmese forces from Siam in 1767, a Chinaman named 
Hpaya Tak Sin gathered together a body of troops and 
greatly hampered the Burmese retirement. His success 
attracted other followers, and in the absence of any member 
of the royal family, who had all been taken in captivity 
to Ava, he usurped the throne and made his capital at 
Bangkok. He subdued several of the Shan states which 
had fallen under Burmese dominion and the Lao state of 
Vieng Chang. The prince of this- state appealed to Burma 
for protection. Sinbyushin was not indifferent to what 
was happening in Siam, and, after the Chinese war was 
concluded, he sent Thihapate in 1771 with a mixed Bur- 
mese and Shan army to Zimme, where Thadominhtin was 
governor with a Burmese garrison. This man not only 
refused to obey or assist Thihapate, but behaved so inso- 
lently towards the Shan chiefs that three of them withdrew. 
Meanwhile a force composed chiefly of Talaings under 
Kamani Sanda, governor of Martaban, which was to 
advance by way of Tavoy and Mergui across the peninsula, • 
mutinied and pursued their chief with a small Burmese 
escort as far as Eangoon. There they besieged him in the 
stockade until he was relieved by the approach of a detach- 
ment from Myanaung. The Talaings fled and joined their 
countrymen who during Alaungpaya's reign had taken 
refuge in large numbers in Siam. 

Invasion of Manipur and Kachar. On the north- 
western frontier also the king was unsuccessful. He 
sent an army up into Manipur to destroy the fortifications 


of the capital, which the ruling chief was repairing after 
their destruction by Alaungpaya. No serious opposition 
was encountered, and much plunder and many prisoners 
were taken. Carried away by their desire for spoil, the 
invading army pushed on into Kachar and Jaintia. In 
the mountains of Kachar a division of ten thousand men 
were cut ofi and killed or starved to death. After an 
absence of two years the survivors returned to Ava with 
their prisoners. 

Execution of Byinnya Dala, king of Pegu. 
Meanwhile the king had determined to visit his dominions 
in Lower Burma and place a new hti on the Shwe Dagon 
pagoda. He travelled in state down the Irawadi, taking 
with him the captured king of Pegu, who had lived a prisoner 
in Ava for seventeen years. The journey occupied three 
months, for the king stopped to worship the great pagodas 
on his way. At Rangoon he adorned the Shwe Dagon 
pagoda with a magnificent jewelled canopy. He then 
accused the ex-king of Pegu of stirring up the Talaings to 
revolt, and after the semblance of a trial the wretched 
captive was publicly executed (1775 a.d.). The king 
returned to Ava. 

Unsuccessful invasion of Siam. At the end 
of the rainy season in 1775 Maha Thihathura was ready to 
march into Siam with an army of Burmans and northern 
Shans. Starting from Martaban he reached Raheng, where 
his second in command, an officer named Zeya Kyaw, 
quarrelled with him over his plan of campaign and returned 
with part of the army to Martaban. The general pushed on 
and occupied Pitsalauk, but being defeated near that place 
was forced to retreat. The next year Zeya Kyaw returned 
to the army, but the king, Singu Min, who succeeded 
Sinbyushin in June 1776, ordered the withdrawal of the 
Burmese troops from Siamese territory, put several officers 


to death for cowardice and insubordination, and disgraced 
Maha Thihatlmra. This general was restored to his com- 
mand by Bodawpaya. 

End of Sinbyushin's reign. Sinbyushin survived 
his return to Ava httle more than a year. The end of 
his reign was disturbed by rebellions. The mutiny of 
the Taking troops has already been referred to. It is said 
to have been caused by the oppressive behaviour of the 
governor of Martaban towards the wives and families of 
the soldiers who were on active service. A second insurrec- 
tion was headed by the king's brother, governor of Am5dn, 
because the king, in defiance of Alaungpaya's will, had_ 
declared his own son, Singu Min, heir-apparent, instead 
of the next brother in order of seniority. The rising was 
easUy suppressed, and the prince's life was spared only on 
the entreaty of his mother. The third revolt, a rising of 
Manip-.ri prisoners in Ava, was quickly crushed. The 
character of the king deteriorated in the course of his reign. 
The abihty which marked his arrangements and his choice 
of generals for the campaigns against the Siamese and 
Chinese is absent from the conduct of the later invasions of 
Siam and Manipur. He was probably tainted with the , 
melancholy madness which appeared in the later kings of 
the dynasty, and his execution of the king of Pegu was 
perhaps an indication of his mental breakdown ; but he 
died before the disease was fuUy developed. 

Reign and deposition of Singu Min. On his 
accession Singu Min at once put an end to warfare, and 
devoted his time to visiting the various pagodas of im- 
portance. To discourage plots against the throne he had 
his younger brother and his uncle, the fourth son of 
Alaungpaya, put to death. The fifth son, Badon Min, was 
kept under observation at Sagaing. But a powerful faction 
in the capital supported the clahns of Naungdawgyi's son. 


Maung Maung, maintaining that, if tlie orders of Alaungpaya 
were not to be carried out, tlien the son of the eldest of 
Alaungpaya's six sons had a better claim than Singu Min. 
The king's habit of leaving and entering the palace with 
very few attendants and without warning gave the con- 
spirators their opportunity. While Singu Min, with the 
chief ladies of the court, was on a pilgrimage to the Thihadaw 
pagoda near Kyaukmyaung, Maung Maung and his followers 
came one night to the palace and demanded admission in the 
name of the king. They were admitted and forced their 
way without much difficulty to the royal apartments. 
^Badon Min, who was no doubt aware of the plot, came to 
Ava with the other surviving sons of Alaungpaya, and 
Maha Thihathura assumed command of the troops. 
Maung Maung at once called together all his uncles and 
offered them the kingship in turn according to the will of 
Alaungpaya. But they suspected a trap and feared that 
any one of them who accepted would be at once removed by 
the prince's supporters. Accordingly they swore allegiance 
to him. It soon became evident, however, to the ministers 
of the palace that Maung Maung, who had been brought up 
in a monastery, was unfit to rule, and his followers turned 
to Badon Min. The latter at once declared his right to the 
throne under the arrangement made by Alaungpaya, 
entered the palace with an armed force, and put Maung 
Maung to death after a reign of a week (1781 A.D.). The 
new king is variously known as Sinbyumyashin, Mindayagyi, 
or Bodawpaya, but most commonly by the last name. 

Death of Singu Min. On hearing of the usurpa- 
tion of Maung Maung, Singu Min started down the 
river ; but the news of the usurper's Success caused him to 
hesitate and delay in the neighbourhood of Singu. Most 
of his followers deserted him, and at last he boldly came 
down to Ava and entered the palace alone by night. 


When challenged by the guard lie answered, " Singu Min, 
lawful lord of the palace." The gates were opened, and he 
was cut down by one of the nobles of the court, the father 
of his favourite wife, whom he had drowned some time 
before in a fit of jealousy. According to another account 
he was made prisoner, and, together with his children and 
the attendants who remained faithful to him, was burnt to 
death by the orders of Bodawpaya. The latter also put to 
death all those who had had a share in the conspiracy 
which put Maung Maung on the throne, though the plot 
was one in which he undoubtedly took part. But cruelty 
and perfidy were two of the new king's chief characteristics. 


Plots against Bodawpaya. Bodawpaya's treat- 
ment of his fellow-conspirators gave rise to other plots. 
Maha Thihathura, whom he had restored to Ms command 
of the troops, was concerned in one of these plots and was 
executed. A second plot in December, 1782, was formed 
to put on the throne Myatpon, who was said to be the son 
of Dibati, the last Burmese king, put to death by Byinnya 
Dala twenty-eight years previously. Aided by a small" force 
of Shans and Karens he boldly forced an entrance into the 
palace-yard by night and secured the guns. In order to 
alarm the occupants of the palace and terrify the guards, he 
compelled the Christian cannoneers to fire blank cartridges. 
This merely had the effect of arousing the guards, who 
made huge fires round the palace and kept off the con- 
spirators until daylight, when they were overpowered 


and put to death together with three of the cannoneers 
who had fired the shots. Myatpon escaped, but was soon 
afterwards captured and executed. Bodawpaya burnt alive 
a large number of people, including some monks, who were 
suspected of complicity in the plot. _ Very soon afterwards 
a rebellion of Takings occurred in Lower Burma. A 
fanatic fisherman, who had dreamed that the kingdom of 
Pegu was to be restored, persuaded large numbers of his 
countrymen to believe in the fulfilment of his dream, and 
before the rebellion was suppressed the governor of 
Eangoon had been murdered. 

Removal of the capital to Amarapura. To 
atone for his sin in having put to death monks and other 
innocent persons, Bodawpaya built the Aungmyelawka 
pagoda at Sagaing and put many valuable offerings in 
the relic-chamber. He also determined to remove his 
capital from Ava, which had witnessed so much bloodshed 
in the last eight years, and transfer it to a new site about 
six miles further up the river Irawadi. Here he built 
Amarapura, " the city of the immortals," and entered into 
possession of his new palace in May 1783. His eldest son 
was created Ein-she-min. One of his younger brothers 
remarked on this occasion that Bodawpaya, having suc- 
ceeded to the throne in accordance with the commands of 
Alaungpaya, now violated them ; for this remark he was 

Conquest of Arakan. For six centuries Arakan 
had been independent of Burma, though it had occasionally 
been the battleground in some of the struggles between 
Burma and Pegu. But every powerful Burmese king had 
hoped to reconquer Arakan, and at this time there seemed 
to be an unusually favourable opportunity. In the century 
preceding Bodawpaya's invasion no less than twenty-five 
kings ruled in Arakan, of whom eight were usurpers, and 




in only four cases did the son of the ruling king follow him in 
direct succession. In the year 1782 Maha Thamada, as he 
proudly called himself after the first king of the Buddhist 
tradition, had come to the throne, but he had little control 
over his people, and Bodawpaya prepared for an invasion 
in force. Three divisions, each commanded by one of the 
king's sons, were to cross the Yoma by various passes 
between Salin and Kyangin, and to occupy Ramri, Cheduba 
and Sandoway in conjunction with a flotilla which was 
collected at Bassein and sent round by sea. The plan was 
carried out in the cold season of 1784, and the opposition 
of the Arakanese was overpowered. Their fleet was defeated 
at Laungkyet, and the Burmese forces entered the capital, 
Myauk-u. The Arakanese king was captured a month later 
in the jungle. The princes and the bulk of the army 
returned home, leaving ten thousand men to garrison the 
country, and Min Khaung Gyi was appointed governor. 
Numerous prisoners, including the king and queens and 
their chief ministers, were taken back to Burma by the 
Taungup pass. The spoils included a great gun thirty feet 
long and of eleven inches calibre, which was taken by sea 
and river to the capital, and now stands in front of the 
palace at Mandalay. But the most important trophy of 
all was the great Mahamuni image cast by Chanda Suriya 
about 150 A.D., and long coveted by the Burmans. The 
image was deposite'd in the Arakan pagoda, which was 
especially built near Amarapura to receive it. 

Invasion of Siam. Early in 1785 an expedition 
sent by sea occupied the island of Junkseylon (Salang) 
in preparation for an expedition against Siam. But the 
Siamese drove the Burmese out of the island with great 
loss, and Bodawpaya prepared an expedition of 100,000 
men, which was to invade Siam in six columns later in 
the year. The troops assembled before the end of the 


rainy season at Tavoy, Zimme, and Martaban, the main 
army being stationed at Martaban. The king himself 
joined the main army, leaving the Ein-she-min as regent. 
Min Khaung Gyi had been recalled from Arakan to 
arrange transport and explore the route of the king's 
proposed march on Kanburi, but before his arrangements 
were complete he was put in command of the division at 
Tavoy and the king set out. The transport broke down, 
and before the army had crossed the watershed near the 
source of the Ataran river the men were in great difficulties 
from want of provisions. In the hill country they were 
attacked by the Siamese with great vigour. The king 
vented his wrath on Min Khaung Gyi, who was sent for 
and executed at the Three Pagodas. The army of Tavoy 
had in the meantime (January 1786) been cut to pieces, 
and on receipt of the news Bodawpaya fled back to Mar- 
taban, leaving his broken armies to make the best of their 
way home. After leaving Martaban he halted at Pegu, 
and again at Rangoon, where his queens met him to 
worship at the Shwe Dagon pagoda, for his warlike ardour 
had been succeeded by a fit of religious fervour. Then 
returning to Amarapura he received a Chinese ambassador 
in accordance with the treaty of 1769, and sent an envoy to 
China. A Siamese attack on Tavoy in the following year 
was unsuccessful, but the Burmans did not retaliate. In 
1791 the Burmese governor intrigued with the Siamese 
and handed over Tavoy to them, but it was recaptured a 
year later. 

The Mingun Pagoda. The king now devoted his 
time to a stupendous act of piety, the results of which 
are still to be seen at Mingun on the Irawadi above 
Mandalay. He determined to build a pagoda bigger than 
any in existence, and collected materials at Mingim. In 
November, 1790, he removed his court to Mingun that he 


might personally superintend operations. Workmen were 
collected from diSerent parts of the kingdom, and so many 
villagers were forced to leave their agricultural pursuits to 
work on the pagoda, at a time when the crops needed all 
their care, that great scarcity prevailed in many districts. 
So much discontent was aroused that the enterprise had 
finally to be abandoned after less than a third of the total 
height of the pagoda had been reached A comparison of 
the ruins with a small model built near the spot shows that 
the pagoda when complete was to have been about 500 
feet high. It was very badly built, and the lower portion 
of the structure would probably never have borne the weight 
which was meant to be imposed upon it. The completed 
portion was wrecked in the earthquake of 1839. The great 
bell, weighing over eighty tons, which was cast at this time 
is still to be seen at Mingun. While Bodawpaya was busy 
with this enterprise, at the end of the year 1791 Martaban 
and Tavoy revolted from Burmese rule, and Tavoy was 
occupied by the Siamese. The first attempt to relieve it 
in the year 1792 failed, and the o£&cer in charge of the 
relieving force was put to death. It was not till December 
of that year that the Ein-she-min with a considerable force 
expelled the Siamese. 

Arakan and the British. The conquest of Arakan 
brought the Burmese Empire into contact with the 
British power in India, and ultimately led to the first 
Burmese war and the annexation of Arakan and Tenasserim. 
For the time being, however, hostilities were postponed for 
various reasons. The British East India Company was 
still mainly a commercial company, and only abandoned its 
trade in part in the year 1813, completely in the year 1833. 
Moreover, the Company was engaged in almost constant 
warfare in India from 1744 onwards, and had no desire to 
engage in conflict with powers outside India. Finally, 




England was at war with France in Europe and America, 
and this struggle, wHcli tried her resources to the utmost, 
came to an end only in 1815. These facts explain the 
forbearance of the British government in its dealings with 

Disturbances in Arakan. It was bad govern- 
ment that led to the first disturbances in Arakan. The 
distracted country would have welcomed a strong and just 
government. But Bodawpaya forced thousands of the 
Arakanese to leave their homes and work on the Mingun 
pagoda and other works of merit, while his officials oppressed 
those who remained at home. Local chiefs rebelled, and 
thousands of the inhabitants took refuge in the British 
territory of Chittagong. Amongst these, three rebel 
chiefs sought British protection, and Burmese troops sent in 
pursuit crossed the Naaf river and entrenched themselves in 
British territory. A detachment from Calcutta compelled 
the Burmese to withdraw, but the three rebel chiefs were 
afterwards handed over to them (1794 a.d.). In the follow- 
ing year Colonel Symes was sent on a mission to Amarapura 
to negotiate a treaty with Burma, but he was received with 
great discourtesy and no treaty was concluded. The only 
concession granted was the appointment of a British agent 
in Eangoon to safeguard the interests of British trade. 
The unfriendly attitude of the king was encouraged by a 
report, spread by a French agent, to the effect that the 
British were being worsted in the war with France, and 
that a French fleet was on its way to India, while four 
French ships were already cruising in Indian seas. The 
following year, 1796, Captain Cox was sent as agent with 
presents for the king. The latter did not come down to 
Amarapura, but sent for the agent to Mingun. Captain 
Cox spent nine months in Amarapura, where the officers of 
the mission were stoned. He left for Eangoon at the end 


of, the rainy season of 1797 and returned to India at the end 
of the year, having accomplished nothing. 

Attitude of the Burmese government. During 
the years 1797 and 1798 the troubles on the Arakan frontier 
continued. Burmese troops pursuing fugitive Arakanese 
again entrenched themselves in British territory, and success- 
fully resisted an attack by the Chittagonian police. They 
were withdrawn by the orders of the king, but he de- 
manded the expulsion of thirty thousand fugitives wjio 
had settled in Chittagong to escape from Burmese rule. 
The governor-general merely promised that the refugees 
should not in future be allowed to raid into Burmese terri- 
tory. Two years later the governor of Arakan wrote to 
the governor-general of India again demanding the sur- 
render of the fugitives, and threatening invasion in case of 
refusal. The insult was overlooked, but in 1802 Colonel 
Symes was again sent to Burma to demand that the king 
should withdraw the letter sent by the governor of Arakan, 
and to negotiate a treaty. The envoy was again dis- 
courteously treated. For forty days the court took no 
notice of his presence and left him on an island near Mingun 
where corpses were burnt and criminals executed. No 
treaty was made ; and the only disavowal of the Arakan 
letter was an oral communication in the king's name by 
the governor of Pegu. In 1803 Captain Canning was sent 
to Eangoon as agent, but the enmity of the local 
officials made his position so difficult that he left after 
a brief stay. He again came to Burma in the year 1809 
and remained six months. On this occasion he was better 
treated, but no reply was given to the governor-general's 
letter, and nothing was done to settle the various questions 
outstanding between the two governments. 

Chinbyan the Arakanese rebel.' In the year 
1811 an Arakanese chief, Chinbyan by name, driven into 


British territory, used the hills of Chittagong as his base 
in a series of raids on Burmese frontier posts. To put 
matters right the governor-general sent Captain Canning 
again to Burma to disclaim all previous knowledge of these 
incursions, which had been secretly carried out. The 
explanation of the envoy was declared to be satisfactory, 
but in the meantime Chinbyan again took refuge in the 
district of Chittagong, and only tactful negotiations 
between the governor of the district and the Burmese 
general sent ia pursuit prevented a violation of British 
territory. The king now became more insistent in his 
demands for the surrender of Arakanese fugitives, and even 
went so far as to order the arrest of Captain Canning, who 
had not proceeded beyond Rangoon, intending to hold him 
as a hostage for their surrender. But the envoy escaped 
on board his ship, and the arrival in Rangoon of another 
British ship with guns put an end to these proceedings. 
Captain Canning soon afterwards left the country. Chin- 
byan again established himself in the hills of Chittagong, 
and the British authorities, unable to hold him in check, 
allowed Burmese troops to cross the frontier and attack him 
in 1814. He died in the following year. 

Bodawpaya's intrigues in India. Bodawpaya^ 
like his father, believed that he was a future Buddha, and 
professed a great interest in works of merit and all matters 
of religion. Between the years 1806 and 1816 a number 
of missions were sent to India to obtain Sanskrit books, 
Buddhist rehcs and images, and plans of Buddha Gaya 
and the sacred tree. A deputation was also received from 
Ceylon, and promises of support were given for the Buddhist 
religion, which was fast being corrupted in the island. It 
was not till the year 1815 that the British government 
discovered these missions to be plotting with the Mahratta 
confederacy against British rule. Three envoys who 


arrived in Calcutta in 1817 with the usual demand for the 
surrender of the Arakanese fugitives, and who asked for 
permission to travel to Lahore in search of religious books, 
were detained in Calcutta. In the following year the 
governor of Ramri demanded in the name of Bodawpaya 
the cession of Dacca, Chittagong, and Murshidabad 
The overthrow of the Mahratta confederacy by Lord 
Hastings, 1817 to 1819, put an end to these schemes. 
But Assam offered another opening for Bodawpaya 's 

Bodawpaya interferes in Assam. In Assam, 
which was nominally governed by a Raja, the chief power 
had for many years been really in the hands of three 
ministers, called Gohains. The ruling Raja in 1793 tried 
to regain the supreme power for himself, and was driven 
from the throne ; but the British, to whom he appealed, 
restored him. A later Raja in 1809 made a similar 
attempt and plotted with one of his provincial governors 
against the chief minister. This plot being discovered, the 
governor fled to Calcutta and asked for assistance, which 
the British government was then unable to furnish, so he 
appealed to Bodawpaya. The king seized the opportunity 
of interfering in Assam, and sent an army of 6000 men. 
In the meantime the chief minister of Assam had died, and 
the Raja, Chandra Kanta by name, no longer needed help ; 
accordingly he dismissed the troops with presents. A few 
years later, however, a conspiracy deposed Chandra Kanta, 
who fled to Bhutan, and a Burmese army under Kyawgaung 
was sent to restore him in 1816. This done, a detachment 
under Maha Thilawa was left in Assam. But Chandra Kanta 
quarrelled with the Burmese, whose designs he began to 
suspect, and the British government, also becoming sus- 
picious, supported him. While matters were in this position 
Bodawpaya died. May 1819. 


Affairs in Manipur. Bodawpaya also found an occa- 
sion for interference in Manipur, which, had been left 
undisturbed by Burma since Sinbjnishin's invasion in 1764. 
In 1799 a contest for the throne arose between the sons of 
Jai Sing, the late Raja, and Chorjit Sing became ruler. To 
secure the support of the king of Burma he sent presents 
to Amarapura and one of his daughters also. His brother 
Marjit also sought the favour of Bodawpaya, and bringing 
presents in 1806 took up his residence for a time in 
Amarapura. Seven years later he again appeared at the 
Burmese capital, and this time found Bodawpaya willing to 
listen to his complaints. The Raja was summoned to 
appear at Amarapura to answer his brother's accusations. 
On his default a Burmese army was sent into Manipur, and 
the Raja was defeated and fled for refuge into Kachar. 
Marjit was placed upon the throne, recognising Bodawpaya 
as his suzerain, and the Kale-Kabaw valley was ceded to 
Burma as a reward for the king's aid. 

Bodawpaya's -work and character., Certain acta 
of Bodawpaya deserve notice, though the reasons for. 
them were not entirely good. In the second year of his 
reign he ordered a complete list to be made of the villages, 
circles, townships, and provinces in the kingdom, with 
their boundaries, the number of families in each village, 
and the taxes payable by each village. But it does not 
appear that the list was used, as it might have been, to 
check extortion and peculation by minor officials. In fact 
the immediate object of it was to enable the king to levy a 
special contribution, which caused much murmuring and 
discontent, for the purpose of repairing pagodas and other 
sacred buildings. In order to earn merit for himself he 
repaired the two artificiaj lakes at Mandalay and Meiktila. 
The former, the Aungpinle, had been commenced by Alaung- 
sithu more than six centuries before. The Meiktila tank 


was older still, and had been repaired by Alaungsithu 
On these two works, as on the Mingun pagoda, thousands 
of men from all parts of the country were employed. Their 
service was compulsory, and this forced labour was one of 
the chief causes of revolt in Arakan. Arrogant, selfish, 
and cruel, Bodawpaya was nevertheless a successful king,, 
but his success was largely due to the ability of his generals 
and his own good fortune. The invasion of Siam, in which 
he took an active and prominent part, failed through his 
hasty and ill-considered action. His adventures on the 
north-west frontier of his empire would probably have 
been attended with equally disastrous results, had not 
the British power been hampered by wars with the native 
Indian states and with France. But his good fortune did 
not fail him, and the disasters which his intrigues should 
have brought upon himself were reserved for his successor. 


Bagyidaw king : makes Ava his capital. 

Bodawpaya 's eldest son, the Ein-she-min, had died about 
ten years before his father, and his son, the Sagaing Min, 
had been consecrated heir-apparent in his place. This 
prince, generally known by the name of Bagyidaw, now 
succeeded Bodawpaya. His accession was nlarked by the 
usual plots or rumours of plots, and two of his father's 
brothers, who were governing the provinces of Prome and 
Taungu respectively, were put to death, together with 
many other suspected persons. Shortly after his accession 
a fire broke out in which a great part of Amarapura, 


including certain of the palace buildings, was consumed, 
and the king determined to remove the capital back to 
Ava. Three years elapsed before the new palace on the 
old site was completed, and the court moved to Ava early 
in 1823. It was afterwards pointed out that now, for the 
first time since the fall of the ancient kingdom of Tagaung 
and the founding of New Pagan, the capital had been moved 
down the river, and this reversal of the usual order was 
held to be the cause of the disasters which befel the kingdom 
in this reign. 

Events in Assam. The real reason of these mis- 
fortunes was the adoption by Bagyidaw of the foolish poHcy 
begun by his grandfather. The British in India had no 
desire to extend their power, but the Burmese king per- 
sisted in forcing a conflict in Assam, Manipur, and Arakan. 
In Assam, where Chandra Kanta had quarrelled with 
his Burmese allies, the British supported him in order 
to keep the Burmese out of the country. Maha Bandula 
was sent with reinforcements to Maha Thilawa, who had 
written to the governor-general warning him not to give 
any assistance to Chandra Kanta. The latter was defeated 
and expelled from his country. Assam was declared a 
Burmese province, and Maha Thilawa was left in charge, 
while Bandula returned to Burma with a portion of the 
troops in 1822. The Burmese demanded the surrender of 
Chandra Kanta, who had taken refuge in British territory, 
but their demand was refused. Amongst other outrages 
which they committed by way of revenge at this time, 
they landed on an island in the Brahmaputra and pulled 
down the British flag, but evacuated the island soon 

Manipur. In Manipur, Marjit, the tributary king, 
evaded the homage due to Bagyidaw on his accession, and 
six months later the Burmese king sent a force to depose 


him (1819 a.d.). A garrison was stationed in Manipur, 
and many thousands of the inhabitants were carried off 
in captivity to Burma. In these operations Maha Bandula 
first distinguished himself, and was therefore chosen three 
years later to command the expedition to Assam. Marjit 
fled to Kachar, where his brother and rival Chorjit had 
already estabUshed himself, having expelled the Raja 
Govind Chandra, who appealed in vain for British aid. 
Marjit and his other brother, Gambhir Sing, now expelled 
Chorjit, while Mar jit's son made raids into Manipur and 
forced the Burmese garrison there to shut themselves 
up in their stockade and wait until reinforcements arrived 
to reHeve them. The British now decided to support 
Govind Chandra and aided the exiled chief with subsidies 
of money and irregular troops. At the beginning of 1824, 
Burmese columns entered Kachar from Assam and Manipur 
in defiance of the British, and, though defeated in the first 
engagement, managed to hold their own against the native 
troops opposed to them. They retired, however, in the 
following year. 

Arakan. The same vexatious policy was pursued in 
Chittagong. In the years 1821 and 1822 the elephant party 
employed in the Ramu hills south of Chittagong was twice 
captured and held to ransom by the Burmese, who also 
claimed the small island of Shapuri at the mouth of the 
Naaf river and annoyed British subjects by searching 
the boats that entered the river. A small British police 
guard placed on the island was attacked by the Burmans 
in 1823, and a regular detachment of Sepoys had to be sent 
to garrison the place. A gunboat was also stationed at 
the mouth of the river. The commander of the gunboat 
was enticed ashore by a deceitful message, seized, and taken 
prisoner to the city of Arakan or Myauk-u, but was released 
a few days later. In this year Maha Bandula was de- 


spatched at the head of 6000 men to Arakan, with orders to 
advance on Chittagong, and war was formally declared by 
the British in March 1824. A British force of 1000 native 
troops and police, with levies of Arakanese fugitives, was 
stationed at Ramu on the Naaf river. In May a Burmese 
force of 4000 men under the governor of Arakan was 
despatched by Bandula to attack the British troops, who 
were driven out of their entrenchments with great slaughter. 
Of nine officers six were killed and two wounded. A serious 
war, long inevitable, had already begun in earnest ; for on 
the 11th of May, six days before the engagement at Ramu, 
the British had occupied Rangoon. 

Rangoon captured. In determining the plan of 
campaign the British had very little information to guide 
them. The account written by Colonel Symes of his visit 
in 1795, with the map of the Irawadi prepared at that time, 
was all the trustworthy intelligence available ; and no 
doubt the strength of Burma was very much over-estimated. 
It was wisely decided that operations in the north and 
west should be confined to the expulsion of the Burmese 
from Assam, Manipur, and Chittagong, while the main 
attack should be directed against Rangoon and the valley 
of the Irawadi. A force of 11,000 men, native and 
European, under Sir Archibald Campbell, convoyed by 
three men-of-war, arrived in the Rangoon river early in 
May 1824. On the voyage through the Bay of Bengal 
detachments were sent to occupy Cheduba and Negrais. 
The governor of Pegu was dead, and the Yewun was left in 
charge of the province till the arrival of a successor. On 
the approach of the ships on the 11th of May the Yewun 
arrested all the European residents of Rangoon, most of 
whom were dining with an Armenian merchant named 
Sarkies, and shut all but a few of them in the custom-house. 
Just as they were being brought out again for execution, 




the British, ships opened fire on the Burmese stockade, and 
the guards fled, leaving their prisoners to their own devices. 
By the orders of the Yewun all the Burmans left the town, 
and when the British troops landed in the evening they 
found it deserted. Four Europeans who had been confined 
in a dark cell on the platform of the Shwe Dagon pagoda 
were not discovered till the following morning. Five days 
later the stockades at Kemmendine were captured, and a 
fortnight afterwards two stockades at Kyawzaung to the 
north of Rangoon were carried at the point of the bayonet, 
rain having wet the powder and made guns and muskets 
useless. This was the first time the Burmans had met 
European troops, and the impression made on them in this 
first fight was such that they rarely again waited to come 
to close quarters with Europeans. The Kemmendine 
stockades had not been garrisoned by the British, and the 
Yewim reoccupied them and increased and strengthened 
them. An attempt to capture them without the aid of 
artillery failed, but when the guns were brought up the 
Burmans abandoned the position after the outworks had 
been captured, and the British occupied it (June 10th, 1824). 
The rains had now set in, and dysentery and fever attacked 
the British troops with such severity that the advance had 
to be suspended, until the arrival of fresh supplies and the 
recovery of the sick made a renewal of operations possible. 
Capture of Syriam, Tavoy, Pegu. The Thonba 
Wungjd now took charge of operations in Rangoon. He 
built a strong stockade at the junction of the Hlaing and 
Panhlaing seven miles above Rangoon, and other 
stockades opposite to the first on the east bank of the river at 
Kamayut. Before these were complete the British general 
successfully stormed them. The Thonba Wungyi and a 
large number of his troops were slain. Syriam was next 
captured, and before the end of the rainy season Tavoy and 




Mergui also fell ; Ye, Martaban, . and Pegu were occupied 
before the end of the year. 

Bandula at Rangoon. Meanwhile the serious 
position of affairs in Rangoon had caused the king to recall 
Bandula with most of his troops from Arakan. Armies 
were stationed on the rivers to oppose the British advance ; 
one at Danubyu under Tharawadi Min, the king's brother, 
another at Htantabin on the Hlaing river under the Kyi 
Wungyi. The stockade at Htantabin was, however, de- 
stroyed by the British in October, though an attack on 
another stockade at Kyaikkalo, twelve miles from Rangoon, 
failed. A column sent to make a second attack on Kyaik- 
kalo found it deserted. Bandula, having strengthened his 
army by the addition of fresh troops raised in Ava, now 
arrived at Danubyu and superseded Tharawadi Min. The 
Kyi Wungyi was removed from his command for his failure 
at Htantabin, and Bandula remained sole commander. 
Maha Thilawa had been recalled from Assam and was with 
the army at Danubyu. Bandula advanced with all his 
troops at the end of November and took up his position 
north of Rangoon on the first of December. His army of 
60,000 men, 35,000 of whom were armed with muskets, 
extended from Kemmendine to Pazundaung, and his whole 
front was protected by earthworks. To this force were 
opposed 1300 European and 2500 native troops, with 
twenty guns mounted bn the pagoda platforln. The re- 
mainder of the droops were sick, or absent with the expedi- 
tions in Pegu and Tenasserim. The British troops held the 
Kemmendine stockade on the west, and the White House, 
a mile from the great pagoda, on the east of their Une. A 
week's fighting ended in the defeat of the Burmese with 
great slaughter. The main attack on the pagoda was re- 
pulsed with very heavy loss ; the left wing of the Burmese 
force was totally defeated, with the aid of the gunboats in 




the creek, on the open ground between the Royal Lakes and 
Pazundaung ; and the stockade at Kemmendine resisted 
vigorous assaults which cost the enemy many lives. A 
Burmese force entrenched at Dalla was dislodged, and a 
stockade at Kokine, which Maha Thilawa had occupied, and 
where Bandula joined him, was captured. Maha Thilawa fled 
to Hmawbi. Bandula with 7000 men retreated to Danubyu, 
and the rest of the army dispersed (December 1824). 

The War in Assam and Manipur. In the north 
the British operations had been equally successful. The 
Burmese force in Gauhati was driven out, before the 
beginning of the rains, in March 1824, and in October, when 
the rains were over and military operations became once 
more possible, they were shut up in Rangpur and compelled 
to surrender. Two thousand Burmans were allowed to 
return home. In Manipur and Kachar the task which 
confronted the British was one of great difficulty. The 
Burmans were strongly entrenched on the Barak river in 
considerable numbers, and the British force had to be 
increased to 7000 men before the enemy withdrew into 
Manipur. The nature of the country made it impossible 
for regular troops to follow them, and it was not until June 
1825 that an irregular force of Manipuri and Kachari fugi- 
tives under Gambhir Sing entered the capital of Manipur. 
The Burmese garrison had in the meantime been recalled 
to repel the advance of the British up the Irawadi. 

Occupation of Arakan. The unexpected diffi- 
culties which had checked the advance along the line of the 
Irawadi induced the British to attempt an advance from 
Arakan over the Pa-aing pass, the most northerly of the 
routes by which Bodawpaya's troops had invaded Arakan. 
An army of eleven thousand men, including two European 
regiments, was assembled in Chittagong under the com- 
mand of General Morrison, and, escorted by gunboats, 


advanced along the coast and crossed tte Naaf river. After 
a two months' march, the army reached Myauk-u, which was 
captured on April 1st, 1825, the day before the capture of 
Danubyu (see next paragraph). The garrison left by 
Bandula made good their escape. It was found, however, 
that any advance by the mountain-passes was impracticable. 
The troops began to suffer much from fever and had to be 
cantoned along the' coast ; the grassy plains where Akyab 
now stands were thus occupied for the first time. 

Capture of Danubyu and death of Bandula. 
Shortly after the repulse of Bandula's attack on Rangoon 
reinforcements arrived from India, and Sir Archibald 
Campbell was enabled to begin his advance up the river. 
His army moved in two columns, one proceeding by river 
under General Willoughby Cotton, the other by land under 
Campbell himself. A small flotilla of gunboats accompanied 
the expedition, and transports with stores, mortars, and 
heavy guns. The total force did not amount to 5000 men. 
Cotton advanced without difficulty as far as Danubyu, 
where Bandula was strongly entrenched ; but there he 
failed to carry an outwork of the position at the Danubyu 
pagoda ; and having embarked his troops, retired to an 
island a few miles down the river. A Burman messenger 
was despatched to Campbell, who had already reached the 
Irawadi at Tharawaw and had proceeded two days' march 
beyond that place to Ywathit. He at once turned back, 
crossed the river at Tharawaw, and marched on Danubyu, 
which he reached fourteen days after leaving Ywathit. 
After a week spent in preparation of batteries and trenches, 
fire was opened on the fort, and Bandula was killed. His 
brother was offered the command, but refused it and fled 
to Ava, where he was executed half an hour after his arrival 
for cowardice and desertion. The garrison evacuated the 
fort in the night, and a large quantity of guns and 


ammunition fell into the hands of the British (April 2nd, 

Parties at the court of Ava. The king, to use his 
own phrase, was in the position of a man who had seized 
a tiger by the tail and was afraid to hold on and afraid to 
let go. The leaders of the war party were the chief queen, 
Nanmadaw Me Nu, and her brother, the Minthagyi Maung 0. 
This queen, a concubine who had been promoted on the 
death of the real queen, was the daughter of a police magis- 
trate, and was supposed to have attained her high position bj 
witchcraft. She was commonly known as "the Sorceress." 
Her brother had once been a fish-seller -in the bazaar, 
and was nicknamed " the fishmonger." As the queen's 
brother he took precedence of everybody at court except 
the king's brother, Tharawadi Min, and his pride, cruelty, 
and avarice made him universally hated. The death of 
Bandula was a great loss to this party, especially since 
Tharawadi Min, who had been in command of a division in 
the delta, now returned to Ava and joined the peace party. 
But the Minthag5d saw that the rise of Tharawadi Min 
meant his own downfall, and urged the king to continue the 
war. The Pakan Wungyi, who had been imprisoned for a 
time together with the European residents of Ava, offered 
to lead an army against the enemy and proposed to 
sacrifice the European prisoners to celebrate his appoint- 
ment to the command. The prisoners were sent out to the 
place selected for their execution at the Aungpinlfe lake, 
but were saved by the discovery, in the Pakan Wungyi's 
house, of royal emblems, which seemed to show that he 
aimed at royal power. He was trampled to death by 
elephants, and the king's half-brother Minmyabu was 
chosen to succeed him, with the Kyi Wungyi or " lord of 
the granaries " as his second in command. 

Negotiations for peace, The war had ceased 


to be popular with the common people, who found the 
British troops friendly. The inhabitants of Rangoon had 
returned to their homes, and the people of Prome, which 
was occupied without opposition in April soon after the 
capture of Danubyu, did the same. The governor of 
Prome had by Minmyabu's instructions ordered the town 
to be deserted and set on fire ; but only about half of it was 
burned, and the arsenal with stores of gunpowder escaped. 
The peasants furnished the British army with supplies, 
and the troops went into cantonments there until the end 
of the rains. The steady progress of the British troops 
and their fair treatment of the inhabitants of the country 
made it difficult to obtain recruits for the Burmese army. 
The authority of the king seems on this occasion to have 
so far broken down that bounties had to be given to induce 
men to enlist, and even the Shan contingents were paid ; 
while the scum of the streets of the capital was enrolled in, 
the new regiments. A force of some 15,000 men was collected 
at Myede during the rains, but in September, before the 
war was renewed, an armistice of forty days was arranged, 
and the Kyi Wung3?i met Campbell and Cotton in conference 
at Nyaungbinseit. The British demanded the cession of 
Arakan, Tavoy, and Mergui, and the payment of two 
crores of rupees. The Kyi Wungp asked that the armistice 
should be prolonged until he received the opinion of the 
court on this demand, but before the armistice ended he 
wrote saying that the cession of territory and the payment 
of indemnities were not in accordance with Burmese custom, 
and the war was resumed. 

Defence of Prome. During the negotiations the 
headquarters of the Burmese were at Malun. On the 
renewal of hostilities their armies, strongly reinforced, took 
up positions for an attack on Prome. Ten miles to the 
north was a force of 30,000 men, and Maha Nemyo, with 


11,000 men, chiefly Shans, was encamped on the Nawin- 
chamig at Wettigan, twenty miles to the north-east. The 
Kyi Wungyi guarded the west bank of the river. Maha 
Nemyo's force threatened theBritish flank, and a night march 
was made to attack him. The three British columns lost 
touch with each other in the dark, and having attacked 
singly were repulsed with considerable loss. The Burmese 
troops occupied Shwedaung, south of Prome, and Sinbaik, 
on the Nawinchaung, eleven miles to the north-east of the 
city, and also attacked a British post at Padaung. A new 
detachment on its way from Rangoon drove them out of 
Shwedaung, and the attack on Padaung failed. A few days 
later Campbell, with 2500 European troops and 1500 
natives, attacked the Burmese main position at Natpadi 
and carried it by assault. The Kyi Wungyi's force on the 
west bank was dislodged a few days later. The Shan 
contingents dispersed to their homes, and the Burmese 
retreated northward, leaving Myedfe to be occupied without 
opposition. The day before the assault on Natpadi, the 
stockade at Sinbaik had been captured and Maha Nemyo 
killed. Amongst the wounded in this action was a young 
girl in male attire, and another woman was found amongst 
the slain. These were Shan women, the wives of one of 
the Sawbwas (chiefs) who were supposed to be expert in 
magic, and who had been sent down with other witches 
from Ava to put a spell upon the foreigners. 

Negotiations at Malun. It was thought that 
the Burmans would now be more disposed to listen to 
proposals for peace, and a letter was sent to the commander- 
in-chief by the hands of a Brahmin, the Raj Guru, who 
had been sent by Bagyidaw to India in the first year of 
his reign to intrigue with the native princes, and had been 
detained by the Government of Bengal. Robertson, 
of the Civil Service, had been brought from Calcutta 


to negotiate a peace, and had brought with him the Raj 
Guru as interpreter. As might have been expected, this 
man behaved treacherously throughout the negotiations, 
gave the Burmese information, and advised them to con- 
tinue the war. When the British army reached Patanago, 
opposite Malun, negotiations were opened, and a treaty 
was signed in January 1826. A truce of fifteen days was 
made to enable the king to confirm the treaty At the 
end of that time no reply was received, and Minmyabu's 
stockade at Malun was stormed. Amongst the documents 
found there were the letters of the Raj Guru and the signed 
treaty, which had never been communicated to the king. 
Battle at Pagan. Amongst the prisoners at Ava 
were Judson and Price, the American missionaries, and 
some British officers who had been captured in the fighting. 
Judson had been released and sent down to Minmyabu 
at Malun as interpreter, and he was now sent with Price 
and the British officers to meet Campbell and Robertson, 
and to learn what terms they had to offer. The British 
forces had continued their advance and met Price near 
Yenangyaung. The king's enquiry was communicated 
to them, and a reply was sent to the effect that the terms 
laid down in the signed treaty were the most favourable 
that could be offered, and that the army would await the 
ratification of the treaty at Pagan. But the war party 
at Ava was still obdurate, and the Minthagyi and the 
queen overcame the recommendations of Tharawadi Min. 
Another general, calling himself Zeyathura or Newinbayin, 
offered to lead an army against the foe, and his ofier was 
accepted, Minmyabu and the other generals being super- 
seded. Unfortunately for the new general it was found 
impossible to raise more than about half the number of 
troops he demanded, but he nevertheless proceeded to 
Pagan to await the arrival of the British. Not anticipating 


a battle there Campbell arrived with only a portion of his 
force, less than 2000 men in all, but at once attacked 
and defeated the Burmese. Newinbayin fled to Ava, where 
he was received in audience by the king, and had the hardi- 
hood to ask for fresh troops and make fresh promises of 
victory. He was ordered out for immediate execution, 
and was tortured to death before the place of execution was 
actually reached. 

Treaty of Yandabo. The British forces were col- 
lected at Pagan and marched on to Yandabo, some forty 
miles from Ava,. and the presence of the enemy almost at 
his gates induced the king to accept the treaty as amended 
at Malun. The terms included the cession of the provinces 
of Assam, Arakan, Tenasserim, and Martaban east of the 
Salween river, the payment of an indemnity of one crore 
of rupees, and a promise to abstain from interference in 
Kachar, Jaintia, and Manipur. Siam was to be included 
in the peace as an ally of the British. The Burmese 
commissioners, who were accompanied by Price and Judson, 
brought with them the first instalment of the indemnity, lakhs of rupees. It was agreed that the 
remainder should be paid in three instalments, and that the 
British army should occupy Rangoon until the payment of 
the second instalment was made in the following year. A 
commercial treaty was also promised for that year. The 
treaty of Yandabo having been signed on February 24th, 
1826, the British troops withdrew to Rangoon. The capital 
of the new province of Tenasserim was fixed at Maulmain," 
on the site of the ancient Hindu city of Ramapura. 




Crawfurd's treaty. Later in the year 1826 Crawfurd 
was sent from India to negotiate a treaty of commerce in 
accordance with, the terms of the Treaty of Yandabo. 
Throughout the negotiations the behaviour of the Burmese 
commissioners was shifty. They tried to evade their 
obligations under the Treaty of Yandabo, and endeavoured 
to secure a remission or postponement of the indemnity in 
return for the commercial treaty. They went so far as 
to modify clauses in copying the draft treaty, and even 
proposed to Judson that they should offer Crawfurd a bribe. 
The commercial treaty, which was signed on November 23rd, 
contained no concessions of any importance, except the 
royal consent to the appointment of a British Resident in 
Ava. The first Resident, Major Burney, was not sent until 
1830. At the end of the year 1827 the second instalment 
of the indemnity was paid, and the British troops were 
withdrawn from Rangoon to Tenasserim. Mr. Crawfurd 
as Civil Commissioner took up his residence at Amherst. 

Last Talaing insurrection. The Takings, who 
had enjoyed their temporary freedom from Burmese rule, 
were not disposed to submit again without a struggle. A 
number of Talaings, suspected of attempting to set fire to 
Rangoon, were buried alive in a well together with their 
wives and children, and this act of barbarity was the signal 
for revolt in January 1827. The rebellion was headed by 
Maung Sat, governor of Syriam, and was joined by many 
Karens. The main body of the rebels attacked Rangoon ; 
Dalla also was occupied, and a detachment was sent against 


Bassein. The Btirmese, who had shut themselves up in 
their stockade in Rangoon, salUed forth and put the Talaings 
to flight. Maung Sat took refuge in Dalla, and sent a 
detachment up the Panhlaing creek to cut off Rangoon 
from reinforcements coming from Ava, intending to renew 
his attack. But troops from Ava broke through and 
defeated the rebels, large numbers of whom escaped with 
their leader to Tenasserim. 

Destruction of Martaban. The protection given 
to the rebels who took refuge in British territory may 
have been the pretext for the raids which were made into 
Tenasserim. Martaban, directly opposite Maulmain, was 
the base of operations of armed bands, which constantly 
crossed the river and plundered and ravaged the newly- 
acquired British territory. Remonstrances were made to 
the Burmese authorities, but in vain, and the incursions 
continued until the British governor took the matter into 
his own hands. He sent to Martaban a British force which 
captured the town and burnt it to the ground in November 

Major Burney, Resident at Ava. In 1830 Major 
Burney was sent to Ava as British Resident, with instruc- 
tions to enquire what the Burmese would ofEer in exchange 
for the Tenasserim provinces, which the Indian government, 
under orders from the East India Company, desired to 
rehnqmsh because they were not self-supporting. The 
Burmese claimed that Tenasserim should be given back to 
them in exchange for the fourth instalment of the indemnity, 
which was still unpaid. This demand was refused. The 
indemnity was not paid up till 1832. A Burmese mission 
was sent to India to appeal to the governor-general, and 
wasted three years following Lord WiUiam Bentinck about 
Northern India. 

Manipur and Burma. Another question which was 


left to Major Burney for decision was the dispute between 
Burma and Manipur for the possession of the Kale-Kabaw 
valley. During the war Gambhir Sing had been paid by 
the British government to maintain troops in Manipur, 
and had enjoyed the services of two British ofl&cers. On 
the conclusion of peace he was informed that he must 
carry on the government at his own expense and without 
assistance. He had, at the end of the war, received the 
Kale-Kabaw valley as part of his kingdom, but the Burmans 
were able to prove to Major Burney that Mar jit had ceded 
the valley to Burma in 1813. The government of India 
allowed the justice of the Burmese claim, and the Kale- 
Kabaw valley was recognised as Burmese territory in 1833. 

Madness of Bagyidaw. The loss of the maritime 
provinces weighed heavily on the mind of the king, who 
brooded over his troubles and in time developed the in- 
sanity which seemed to be hereditary in the family of 
Alaungpaya. In 1831 he became unfit to take any part in 
public afiairs, and a council of regency was appointed, con- 
sisting of his brother, Tharawadi Min, his brother-in-law, 
Maung the Minthagjd, and two other ministers. Thara- 
wadi Min soon withdrew from the council in disgust, and 
the queen and her brother, the Minthagyi, were left masters 
of the situation. At the end' of the year Major Buiney took 
leave and did not return until the cold weather of 1833. 

Rebellion of Tharawadi Min. The position of 
Tharawadi Min had become intolerable. Against his advice 
the war had been prolonged and the price of peace had thus 
been increased. The king was unfit to rule, and the prince 
felt that he should now govern. Yet he found himself one 
of a council controlled by his two enemies, whom he blamed 
for the disasters to the coimtry. He therefore began to 
make preparations for revolt. He gradually assembled a 
strong bodyguard and collected 8000 muskets Armed 


bands of dacoits were in Ms pay in different parts of the 
country. Peace was undisturbed for four- years, but in 
1837 the Minthagyi tried to arrest one of Tharawadi Min's 
followers in the prince's own palace. The Minthagyi's men 
were driven ofE, but Tharawadi Min fled to Sagaing and 
thence to Shwebo, where he gathered together his followers. 
Major Burney followed him there, and with difficulty made 
him promise not to sack Ava or put anybody to death if the 
ministers made their submission. He returned to Ava, 
which opened its gates to him, and there a few days later 
he announced that Bagyidaw had abdicated. He then 
took possession of the palace as king. Bagyidaw was well 
treated, but kept in seclusion. The queen and the 
Minthagyi were thrown into prison and were executed 
in 1840. Bagyidaw died in 1845. 


Accession of Tharawadi Min. In 1837, the first 
year of his reign, Tharawadi Min rid himself of one possible 
source of danger by putting to death Bagyidaw's son, Sakya 
Min, on a charge of treason. He made his capital at 
Amarapura after a brief residence at Kyaukmyaung. 
During his stay at Kyaukmyaung he left Ava in charge of 
Maung Taung Bo, the Pakyi Wun, who was a notorious 
blackguard and dacoit. 

British Mission in Ava. During the seven years of 
Major Buiney's residence in Ava the Burmese government 
had become reconciled to the conditions of the treaty of 
Yandabo. The king had written letters and sent envoys 


to the governor-general, whose authority he had the wisdom 
to recognise. But Tharawadi Min, on his accession, 
repudiated the Treaty of Yandabo, and refused to recognise 
Burney's official position or the authority of the governor- 
general. He demanded direct communication with the Eng- 
lish sovereign. Burney at once retired to India together 
with the whole of the mission. In the following year, 1838, 
however. Colonel Benson was sent as Resident. He was 
delayed some time in Eangoon for want of boats to take 
the mission up to Amarapura, and on the journey he was 
insulted by minor officials. When he arrived in Amarapura 
his official position was ignored, and a residence was as- 
signed to him on a sandbank which was covered during 
the rainy season by the overflow of the Irawadi. He 
returned to India in the cold weather, leaving Captain 
M'Leod, the assistant resident, in charge. As the king 
refused to allow the removal of the residency to a more 
suitable site, the mission withdrew in 1840. 

Rebellion suppressed. In 1838 a rebellion in 
Lower Burma was headed by a pretender declaring 
himself to be the Sakya Min, who had been drowned a year 
previously. The rebellion was suppressed with great 
cruelty. On one occasion forty men, women and children 
were burnt alive in a bamboo hut. Two years later, in 1840, 
a Shan rising gave the king an excuse for a further slaughter 
of his rivals. He pretended that the ex-queen and 
Minthagyi were concerned in the insurrection, and put both 
to death together with their followers. The queen was 
trampled to death by elephants, but that was the least 
barbarous mode of execution employed against the prisoners. 

Insanity of the king. The hereditary madness of 
his family began to appear in the king during the year 1841. 
He developed a taste for a«curious fyrm of amusement. 
He would take a dagger, and, having caused any one of 


his followers who happened to be at hand to bare his back, 
he would score a chess board on the tinfortunate man's 
flesh with gashes of the steel. He made a sudden visit 
to Rangoon in 1841, causing some apprehension in the 
minds of the British government, and the garrisons of 
Arakan and Tenasserim were strengthened. On his return 
from Rangoon he went to live in an isolated palace on the 
Made Chaung, where Mandalay now stands. His sons 
found their opportunity in the king's madness. The 
Prome prince was the first to act In the year 1845 he 
seized the king and kept him in confinement. But the 
king contrived to escape and the prince fled for safety 
to the Shan states. The Tarokmaw prince, who next 
seized his father, was more successful, and kept him a 
close prisoner till his death in the following year. The 
Pagan Min, however, became regent, and proceeded to 
establish himself in the usual way by killing ofi aU possible 

Pagan Min seizes the throne. In 1846 the 
Prome prince was captured in the Shan hill-country and 
brought down to Amarapura. There he was accused of 
conspiring with one of Tharawadi's queens to usurp the 
throne. Both were executed together with all their 
immediate relatives, except the daughter of the queen and 
Tharawadi Min. The insane king died not long afterwards 
and Pagan Min became king. Without delay he seized 
the Tarokmaw prince and all his household and put them 
to death. He then entered upon seven years of dire mis- 
rule, which ended in the loss of the whole of Lower Burma. 
He was a man without intellect, knowledge, or capacity of 
any kind. Avaricious, brutal, and degraded, he had no 
interest in any but the coarsest pleasures and pursuits. 
For two years his .chief counsellors and instruments were 
two Mahomedans, Maung Baingzat and Maung Bein. 


With their help and guidance he ordered some six thousand 
public executions- or murders during their two years of 
power. Then the anger of his long-suffering subjects rose 
to such a pitch that to save himself the king threw the blame 
on his Mahomedan favourites and handed them over to 
the people. They were tortured for three days in the most 
horrible manner before they succumbed (1848 A.D.). 

Oppression of British traders. In twenty years 
the lessons of the war of 1824-26 had been forgotten. In 
spite of the treaties, unjust charges were levied from British 
ships, and in 1851 the British government had to take action. 
The governor of Pegu at that time was Maung Ok, 
appointed by Pagan Min at the commencement of his reign. 
He arrested Mr. Sheppard, captain of a British ship, on a 
charge of murder. The captain was tried and acquitted 
but fined, then promptly re-arrested on a charge of em- 
bezzlement. On this charge also he was acquitted but 
fined again, the total fines exceeding nine hundred rupees. 
The members of his crew also were thrown into, prison, 
and money was extorted from all of them, one man being 
beaten as well. Shortly afterwards another captain, Mr. 
Lewis, was arrested and fined on a frivolous charge laid by 
two Bengali coolies. When seven of his crew deserted and 
he appealed to the Burmese authorities, the deserters were 
arrested, but the sum of two hundred and fifty rupees was 
demanded before they were handed over ; even on payment 
of that sum only four men were produced. Mr. Lewis was 
next arrested on a charge of murder, which Maung Ok 
offered to dismiss on receipt of two hundred rupees. Lewis 
had the courage to refuse, and was released. He was again 
arrested, however, and fined two hundred and eighty 
rupees. One of his petty officers was then arrested on a 
charge of embezzlement, and the ship was detained until a 
sum of two hundred rupees was paid for his release. Shep- 


pard and Lewis both drew up claims for compensation, and 
presented them through the British government. 

The British government interferes. Lord 
Dalhousie, the governor-general, supported the claims of 
the two captains, and despatched Commodore Lambert 
with a squadron numbering six ships in all. The com- 
modore received two letters ; one, addressed to Maung Ok, 
demanding compensation and pointing out the serious 
nature of the violations of the treaty ; the other, addressed 
to the king, demanding the removal of Maung Ok and 
threatening war in the event of a refusal. This second 
letter was to be sent only if Maung Ok declined to grant 
redress. The governor proved impracticable. He forbade 
communication between the ships and the Europeans on 
shore, and laid a plot to seize the officers when they came 
ashore to present the British claims, intending to hold them 
as hostages until the warships were withdrawn. This plot 
was discovered, and the letter addressed to the king was 
sent on. The king's reply was friendly in tone. Maung Ok 
was removed from his governorship, but he was allowed to 
depart with every mark of honour. His successor, Maung 
Hmon, brought with him 30,000 troops to Eangoon, while 
a force of 20,000 men was sent to Bassein under the com- 
mand of Maung Nyo, and another force of 30,000 men 
under Maung Bwa to Martaban. The new governor con- 
firmed Maung Ok's order prohibiting communication with 
the ships in the river on pain of death. A deputation of 
officers, which went ashore to present the letter demanding 
compensation, was kept waiting throughout the heat of the 
day on the plea that the governor was asleep. Finally 
they left without seeing him, and he sent a letter to the 
commodore, stating that the officers were intoxicated and 
had used violent language. Lambert declared a blockade 
of the river and seized a royal ship moored off Rangoon. 


The Burmese batteries which opened fire on the British 
ships were soon silenced, and the ships dropped down the 
river, one being detached to blockade Bassein. The com- 
modore went to Calcutta for further instructions (January 

British ultimatum. To give the Burmese another 
chance of avoiding war, a second letter was sent by the 
governor-general demanding an apology and compensation. 
The ships carrying the letter under a flag of truce were fired 
on, but silenced the Burmese forts. The reply of the 
Burmese government was of an evasive nature. On the 
18th of February an ultima tim was despatched demanding 
compensation for the wrongs done to Captains Lewis and 
Sheppard, an apology to the officers insulted by Maung 
Hmon, and the payment of ten lakhs of rupees to cover the 
cost of preparations for war made by the British govern- 
ment. The Burmese had two evil counsellors who both 
assured them that the first war had exhausted the resources 
of the British and that they would certainly not undertake 
a second war. Accordingly the ultimatum was ignored, and 
in April, 1852, the war began. The first act of hostility 
was committed by the Burmese, who again fired on a ship 
carrying a flag of truce, which was sent by General Godwin 
to ascertain whether the Burmese government meant to 
yield to the British demands. 

Capture of Martaban, Rangoon, and Bassein. 
General Godwin pushed on the war with great vigour. A 
detachment of 1400 men, aided by gunboats, carried Mar- 
taban by assault on the 5th of April, and flve days later the 
fleet anchored in the Rangoon river below the Hastings 
shoal. The following day the squadron proceeded up the 
river, shelling and storming seven stockades on the way, 
and anchored off Kemmendine. An attack arranged for 
the 12th failed, two officers being killed by sunstroke and 


three disabled by tbe heat before noon ; but the White 
House stockade east of the pagoda was captured. On the 
14th the attack was successfully carried out, and the 
Shwe Dagon pagoda was captured after a severe struggle. 
Rangoon thus passed finally into the hands of the British. 
The Burmans fought with great courage, and the loss on 
both sides was heavy. Attempts made by a Burmese force 
to recover Martaban were repelled by the British garrison, 
and on hearing the news of the fall of Rangoon the Burmese 
troops retired. A final attempt on Martaban was made by 
Maung Shwe Lon on May 19th, but failed. Meanwhile four 
ships, under Commodore Lambert, had been despatched to 
Bassein, which was captured after forty minutes fighting 
on the 18th of May. 

Pegu captured and lost again. The war was 
not popular with the Lower Burmans and Talaings, who 
sided with the British whenever the Burmese troops were 
withdrawn. The Shans, too, refused to send their con- 
tingents for service, A body of Talaings under Maung Ta 
rose against the Burmese government, and with the aid 
of the British occupied Pegu on the 3rd of June. The 
Talaings were left to garrison the town, but a week later 
the Burmese recaptured it in a sudden assault and fortified 
it strongly against a British attack. General Godwin was 
unable to send troops at once to recover Pegu, and it re- 
mained six months longer in the hands of the Burmese. 

Prome occupied and abandoned. At the begin- 
ning of the rainy season in 1852, one British steamer 
reconnoitred the Irawadi nearly as far as Prome, and early 
in July a fiotilla of four ships advanced up the river. 
A body of 1500 Burmans, stationed at Kanaung, was 
shelled by the ships, which anchored a few miles higher 
up at Myanaung. The next morning the British came 
across the main Burmese armv of 7000 men under Maung 


Gyi, son of Maha Bandula, who Had taken his father's 
title but did not inherit his courage or skill. The flotilla 
passed Maung Gyi's force and pushed on to Prome, which 
was abandoned by the governor, Maung Waing. More 
than twenty guns were captured, and all except four were 
sunk in deep water. The British force was too small to 
occupy Prome and retired down the river. The Burmese 
troops were encountered crossing the river at Akauktaxmg, 
and in the engagement which took place a few war-boats 
were sunk with a quantity of warlike stores, and five guns 
were captured. A few days later twenty-eight guns left 
behind by Maung Gyi were captured at Akauktaung. The 
squadron reconnoitred again up to Prome and found that 
Maung Gyi with 2000 men was at Eathemyo, the remainder 
of his troops having deserted. 

The governor-general in Rangoon. Capture 
of Prome. In his despatch to England after the capture 
of Rangoon, Lord Dalhousie discussed various alternative 
plans for dealing with Burma, and recommended the per- 
manent occupation of the Province of Pegu as the only 
security for the good behaviour of the Burmese. The 
Court of Directors of the East India Company and the 
Queen's government concurred. Lord Dalhousie himself 
paid a brief visit to Rangoon in July and August 1852, 
to discuss his pohcy with General Godwin on the spot. After 
his departure, preparations were made for an advance in 
force on Prome, and at the end of September the flotilla 
set sail. On the 9th of October the troops disembarked 
at Prome. The Burmans expected the attack to take 
place on the south and west, and the Shwesandaw pagoda 
was strongly fortified on those two sides. But the British 
landed to the north of the toM^n and attacked the pagoda 
from the east. The Burmans abandoned their positions 
after a short resistance, only one man being killed on the 


British side. Maung Gyi, whose troops at Eathemyo now 
numbered 18,000, surrendered, and his army dispersed. 
For a few weeks these troops caused trouble by plundering 
villages along the river, and had to be broken up by British 
columns, which captured two stockades the enemy had 
built opposite Prome. One British officer was killed at 

Capture of Pegu. Attention was now turned to 
Pegu, and before the end of November the British captured 
the town and the Shwe-hmaw-daw pagoda after two days' 
fighting. A number of Talaings assembled in Pegu, and 
together with 200 British and 400 native troops were left to 
garrison the town. The Burmese general, Maung Kyauk 
Lon, invested the place with an army of 8000 men, and 
reinforcements of 240 British troops with fresh supplies of 
ammunition could not force their way through. The 
garrison was hard pressed when General Godwin with 1200 
men proceeded up the Pegu river, sending a column by land 
along the west bank. The Burmese were driven ofi without 
any serious engagement. 

Annexation of Pegu. Captain Arthur Phayre was 
appointed governor of the Province of Pegu, and on 
December 20th, 1852, he published the proclamation of 
the governor-general declaring Pegu a British possession 
and calling upon the inhabitants to submit peacefully to 
British rule. The king of Burma was warned that, if he 
resisted, his whole power might be destroyed and himself 
exiled. In a letter sent to the king the terms of the 
proclamation were repeated, and a period of one month 
was allowed for the conclusion of a treaty of peace. 

Deposition of Pagan Min. The letter which was 
addressed to Pagan Min was delivered to his successor, 
Mindon Min. The latter, a half-brother of the king, was a 
man of peaceful disposition, religious habits, and erihghtened 


character. His popularity aroused the jealousy of the 
brutal Pagan Min, and, fearing for his life, Mindon Min 
fled with his brother to Shwebo on the 17th of December, 
1852. Pagan Min prepared to fight for his throne, and 
recalled the troops who were still carrying on the war 
round Prome. By the 1st of January, 1853, Mindon Min's 
troops were in possession of the suburbs of Amarapura. 
After seven weeks had been spent in intermittent fighting, 
the Magwe Mingyi seized the king's advisers, and Mindon 
Min's troops in the confusion secured the city and the palace. 
When the usual executions were over, Mindon Min came 
down from Shwebo. Pagan Min was kept in honourable 
captivity, with a small court of his own. He died of small- 
pox in 1881. 

Subjugation of Pegu. The pacification of Pegu was 
not a long or difficult task. The Martaban land column 
imder General Steel cleared the country of disbanded troops 
and dacoits, from Taungu to the Tenasserim frontier. 
Another column under Sir John Cheape was sent out against 
Maung Myat Tun, who with a large force was harassing the 
west country. This leader, after destroying Zalun and 
Danubyu, retired to a strong position on the Kyaukzin 
creek not far from the Pantanaw river. The position was 
discovered only after a tedious search. The enemy, to the 
number of 4000 men, were strongly entrenched. After a 
fight of two hours' duration a storming party, led by Ensign 
Wolseley (afterwards Lord Wolseley), carried the entrench- 
ments, and the Burmans fled (March 19th, 1853). There 
was now an end of organized resistance, and the British 
were left in undisturbed possession of the Province of Pegu 
south of a line, drawn due east and west six miles north of 
Myedfe, which was laid down as the boundary fine between 
Upper Burma and British territory. 




Mindon Min king. The new king liad opposed the 
war, and he strongly resented the tone of the letter which 
had been addressed to Pagan Min, his predecessor. He 
therefore refused to sign any treaty, but he forbade any 
attack on the British ; and peace was formally declared 
six months after the annexation of Pegu. In 1854 the 
king made an attempt by means of diplomacy to recover 
Pegu, and in December an embassy was sent to Calcutta 
with Captain Phayre as interpreter. The embassy was 
well received and brilliantly entertained, but Lord Dalhousie 
refused to consider the restitution of Pegu. This reply was 
a great disappointment to Mindon Min, but he concealed 
his chagrin and devoted himself to the task of governing 
justly what remained to him of the empire of Burma. He 
regulated the taxes by abolishing the old custom of assigning 
districts for the maintenance of princes and ministers. 
Only the Ein-she-min, the king's brother, was so provided 
for. In the remaining districts, except the Shan states, a 
tax at the average rate of ten rupees per household was 
levied, and from the revenue so collected all officials re- 
ceived monthly salaries. The tax collectors were strictly 
enjoined to collect the tax justly without oppression. This 
beneficent measure alone would entitle Mindon Min to the 
praise which he has won as a just and merciful ruler. 

Phayre's mission. In 1855 Major Phayre pro- 
ceeded to Amarapura to negotiate a commercial treaty. 
The mission was met at Minhla by a deputation from the 
Burmese court, and both English and Burmans were 
entertained by Mackertich, the Armenian governor of 



Portrait op Mindon Min, 


MinHa, who in spite of his foreign extraction won great 
popularity amongst the Burmese. He accompanied the 
mission to Amarapura. There nearly six weeks were 
spent in the exchange of diplomatic courtesies and the 
amusements customary at the Burmese court, but none of 
the objects of the mission were achieved. The Mng could 
not be persuaded that the proposed treaty conferred any 
advantage on his own subjects, and he declined to sign a 
treaty which he thought discreditable to himself as a ruler. 
We must admire his principle though we cannot confirm 
his judgment. The treaty was eminently fair and advan- 
tageous to both nations. The king's natural good sense 
was, however, shown in his advice to Mackertich and Major 
Allan, the Deputy Commissioner of Thayetmyo. He 
pointed out the importance of friendship between the 
frontier officials, and the necessity of judgment and modera- 
tion in their administration ; for fools might start a quarrel 
which baffled the wisdom of the wisest to compose. The 
most important fruit of this mission was Captain Yule's 
comprehensive work on Burmese natural history, topo- 
graphy, customs, and administration, entitled Narrative 
of the Mission to the Court of Ava. 

Mandalay the capital. In February, 1857, the 
building of a .new capital at Mandalay was begun in 
accordance with omens and dreams which had appeared to 
the king, and the court moved to Mandalay in June, the 
king and his queens being accommodated in a temporary 
palace. In April, 1858, a mission from the United States, 
with a letter from the President expressing a desire for 
friendly relations with Burma, was received in Mandalay. 
In this year rebellions against British rule took place in 
Shwe^yin and Bassein districts, headed by men who claimed 
to be of royal race, but they were promptly suppressed. 
Disturbances in the Shan states created by rebellious 


Sawbwas were quelled by Mindon Min without difficulty 
(1861 A.D.). The transfer of the government to Mandalay 
was completed in 1860. 

The commercial treaty. Arakan, Pegu, and Ten- 
asserim were combined in 1862 into one province under. 
Major Phayre as Chief Commissioner, and one of the first 
acts of the new administration was the negotiation of a 
commercial treaty with Mindon Min. It was agreed that 
after the expiration of one year frontier duties should be 
reduced by both parties, that British subjects should be 
allowed to trade anywhere, and that a British representa- 
tive should reside in Mandalay. In point of fact the treaty 
was ineffectual, because the king through his agents had 
obtained a monopoly not merely of oil, teak, and precious 
stones, but of all the chief articles of commerce, and private 
traders were unable to purchase except from the royal 
agents. Four years later Major Phayre again visited 
Mandalay in an endeavour to get the frontier duties lowered 
in accordance with the treaty and to secure the abolition 
of monopolies and freedom of trade, but his efiorts were 

Rebellion in Mandalay. At the beginning of the 
Buddhist Lent in 1866, a rebellion broke out in Mandalay 
headed by two of the king's sons, the Myingun and Mjin- 
gondaing princes. The Kanaung Min, brother to the 
king, was heir-apparent, and the king's sons resented his 
power and determined to remove him as an obstacle to 
their own succession. While the king was residing in the 
temporary palace at the foot of the Mandalay hill, the con- 
spirators in a sudden attack slew the Ein-she-min, but 
failed to capture the king, who escaped with his own 
immediate attendants to the palace. The conspirators 
followed and tried to force an entrance. While they were 
so engaged the Ein-she-min's men came upon them and 


drove them from the immediate precincts of the palace. 
Before the next morning the royal troops had assembled, 
and the rebel princes were driven to the river, where they 
seized a steamer and retired to Myingyan. They spent a 
month in plundering the riverine villages, before they were 
compelled by the approach of a column of royal troops to 
take refuge in British territory. On arrival in Rangoon 
they were detained there. The Myingun prince succeeded 
in escaping, and for a time made raids on Burmese territory 
from Karenni. Being expelled by a Burmese force, he was 
again obliged to take refuge in Rangoon. Here his brother 
had caused a riot, and both princes were sent to India. 

Rebellion of the Padein Min. Meanwhile the 
Ein-she-min's son, Padein Min; had fled on the day of his 
father's murder to Shwebo. The men of Tabayin, Pyinsala, 
and Tantabin, in the Crown Prince's territory, joined him, 
and he acquired very soon a formidable following. De- 
tachments from other places in his father's domain 
marched on Mandalay from the south, while the prince 
advanced from the north side. The king's troops were 
defeated, and the city was almost completely invested. 
The king offered to resign in order to avoid bloodshed, but 
the chief queen dissuaded him. In a short time the forces 
of the Padein prince were defeated and dispersed, and the 
prince himself was captured and confined in Mandalay. 
A few months later he and all the other prisoners were 
executed by order of the Hlutdaw (see Chap. XXIV.) 
without the knowledge of the king, on a charge of again 
conspiring against the throne. Captain Sladen, the British 
Resident, who met the prince on the way to execution, 
rode ofi to the palace and obtained a reprieve from the king 
in person, but arrived too late to save the royal victim 
(May 15th, 1867). 

Second commercial .treaty. In 1867 Colonel 


Pytche succeeded Major Phayre, w'hose able administration 
had brought prosperity and order to Lower Burma. In 
October, when the rains were over, Fytche arrived in 
Mandalay and concluded a new treaty with Mindon Min. 
Frontier dues were fixed at five per cent., with the right of 
revision of rates at the end of ten years. A British 
Resident was to be maintained at Mandalay. Free trade 
in gold and silver was permitted. The monopolies were 
reduced to earth oil, timber and precious stones. The 
Burmese government was to be allowed to buy war 
materials in British territory, subject to the approval of 
the Chief Commissioner. The extradition of criminals was 
agreed upon. With a view to opening up trade with China, 
Colonel Sladen surveyed the routes north of Bhamo, but 
could not penetrate beyond Tengyueh (Momein), owing to 
the disturbed state of the country. Two years later Captain 
Strover, the first assistant political agent at Bhamo, was 
more successful. He established friendly relations with 
the Shans and Kachins, and with the governor of Tengyueh. 

Rebellions in Upper and Lower Burma. Bassein 
was disturbed in 1868 by a rising and an attack on the local 
treasury. One Maung Kyaw Tha had received letters which 
declared him to be the king's nephew and authorized him 
to assume the governorship of Bassein. The letters were 
no doubt forgeries which imposed on a credulous fool. 
The attack on the treasury was for the moment successful, 
but the Deputy-Commissioner, Mr. Beddy, drove off the 
rebels and captured the ringleaders. In Upper Burma a con- 
spiracy against the king, planned by the Katha prince and 
his mother, was discovered before it spread beyond the 
palace. The guilty persons were forgiven at the inter- 
cession of a Buddhist monk (May 1870). 

The royal monopolies. Sir Ashley Eden became 
Chief Commissioner of British Burma in 1871. He at once 


urged the king to abandon the royal monopolies, which 
rendered the treaties of 1862 and 1867 inefEective. As the 
king was already getting into difiScuIties through large 
purchases of goods which he was unable to sell again, he 
agreed to remove the restrictions on trade. But the 
promise, if carried out, was afterwards broken ; for six 
years later this question was again raised by the British 
authorities, who desired another revision of the treaties. 
Foreign missions. The year 1872 was made memor- 
able by the arrival at the Burmese court of letters from 
Queen Victoria, the Prime Minister of England, and the 
Viceroy of India. These were crossed on their way out by 
a Bvirmese mission to the English court, headed by the 
Kinwun Mingyi. The object of the mission had not been 
notified to the political agent in Mandalay, and the envoy, 
afraid that he might not be favourably received in England, 
visited the courts of Italy and France on his journey. 
In Paris he negotiated a treaty which the Burmese king 
afterwards refused to ratify, because it gave the French the 
right to mine for precious stones in the Ruby Mines district, 
though these were a royal monopoly. In spite of the 
irregularity of the mission it was well received at the English 
court. Later in the year an Italian envoy visited 
Mandalay and ratified a commercial treaty with the Bur- 
mese government. At the end of December, 1873, a French 
mission came to Mandalay to obtain a ratification of the 
treaty concluded by the Kinwun Mingyi. This was refused, 
as already stated. The Kinwun Mingyi afterwards pro- 
ceeded to Paris with an amended treaty, but the French 
government refused to accept a treaty lacking the clause 
granting to French subjects the right of working the ruby 
mines. In February, 1875, a mission was sent to India to 
discuss the question of the Karenni boundary. The Bur- 
mans had been in the habit of raiding into that territory, 


and the chiefs had entreated British protection. Late in 
the year the matter was settled by Sir Douglas Forsyth, the 
emissary of the Viceroy, in consultation with the Burmese 
government at Mandalay, and the Karens were secured 
against aggression. 

Character of Mindon Min. The remaining years of 
Mindon Min's reign are not marked by any event fii note. 
He fell ill of dysentery in the rainy season of 1878, and 
died on the 1st of October after an illness of two months. 
He is famous for his humanity and his high standard of 
honour and truthfulness. Except in the matter of mono- 
pohes, the evils of which he did not understand, and which 
were forced upon him by the cost of maintaining the splen- 
dour of his court, all his measures were intended to promote 
the prosperity of his kingdom and the best interests of his 
subjects. He abhorred bloodshed ; but while he never 
ordered the execution of a criminal, he allowed his ministers 
at times to order executions without his express sanction, 
and rpfrained from punishing these violations of his prin- 
ciples and his prerogative. His lack of the martial qualities 
which characterise most of the kings of the dynasty was 
not a serious defect, so long as the British power protected 
his kingdom. Had his successor followed in his footsteps, 
Burma might have enjoyed a long era of prosperity under 
Burmese rulers. But the succeeding reign summed up all 
that was worst in the history of the Alaungpaya dynasty 
without exemplifying any of the nobler qualities of the race. 
Mindon Min's toleration and broadmindedness were shown 
by his patronage of the Society for the Propagation of 
the Gospel, for which he built a church and a school 
in Mandalay. Some of his sons, including Thibaw Min, 
attended the school to learn English from the missionary in 
charge, the Reverend Doctor Marks. Though he assisted 
a Christian mission, he was a staunch Buddhist To secure 


the continuance of the Buddhist religion he had the text of 
the Law engraved on 739 marble slabs, and each of these was 
placed in its own shrine round the Kuthodaw pagoda in 
Mandalay. He also convened, in 1871, a great meeting of 
over two thousand monks, who rehearsed the Bidagat 
Thonb'on or Three Baskets of the Law. Accordingly he 
receiveci the title of Convener of the Fifth Great Synod. 
No such synod had been convened for nearly two thousand 
years, the last having met in Ceylon 455 years after Buddha's 
attainment of Nirvana ; that is, about ninety years before 


Thiba-w's accession. The difiB.oulties which gener- 
ally attended the choice of a new king were increased in the 
case of Mindon Min's successor by the unusual number of 
the king's sons. Mindon Min foresaw the rivalry of the 
various claimants, and had not dared to nominate any one 
of them Ein-she-min, fearing that by so doing he would 
practically sign the death-warrant of the prince selected. 
When he fell ill, Sinbyumayin, the Al^nandaw queen (Queen 
of the Middle Palace), who was the daughter of the 
notorious Nanmadaw Mfe Nu, and whose influence had 
become supreme since the death of the chief queen eight 
months previously, summoned the royal princes in the 
king's name to the palace. Two of them, the Nyaung Yan 
prince and the Nyaung Ok prince, suspecting a trap, took 
refuge at the British Residency and afterwards in British 
territory. The others obeyed the order and were put 
under arrest. The mothers of the unfortunate princes 


appealed to the king, who ordered their release, and the 
Metkaya prince was granted an interview. The king now 
appointed the Nyaung Yan prince, the Thonze prince, and 
the Metkaya prince viceroys with separate charges, and 
permitted the younger princes and their relatives to attach 
themselves to whichever viceroy they chose. But the 
A16nandaw queen had other views, and as soon as the 
princes left the palace they were again arrested, and their 
female relatives were confined to their apartments. The 
Kinwun Mingyi and other ministers concerned in the plot 
prevented the issue of the king's order for a triple regency. 
To divert suspicion from the real intention of the conspira- 
tors, Thibaw was amongst those arrested, but he was soon 
released. The Alfenandaw queen had selected him as her 
nominee to the throne because he was in love with 
Supayalat, one of her daughters. Aided by the Kinwun 
Mingyi she secured the unanimous approval of the ministers, 
who all, like the queen herself, foresaw that Thibaw, a weak 
and inexperienced youth brought up in a monastery, would 
be more manageable than any of his elder brothers. He 
was crowned king on the death of Mindon Min, and the 
coronation was followed by the arrest of many princesses. 
The intention of Thibaw was merely to keep the princes 
and princesses in confinement, but the Alenandaw queen 
and her daughter Supayalat obtained his consent to their 
execution. They were murdered to the number of seventy 
and buried in a big trench outside the palace enclosure in 
February, 1879, four months after the king's accession. 

Thibaw's Queen. Supayalat was the second of the 
three daughters of the Alfenandaw queen. The eldest 
daughter of Mindon Min, Princess Salin Supaya, who had 
been selected as queen of Mindon's successor, finding Thibaw 
in love with Supayalat, became a nun. Thibaw married 
Supayalat and her elder sister Supayagyi. The fierce 





Thibaw and Sopatalat. 


jealousy and domineering temperament of Supayalat, how- 
ever, prevented him from entering the apartments of the 
senior queen and from marrying othfer wives in accordance 
with Burmese royal custom. The only inferior wife whom 
he contrived by much scheming to introduce into the palace, 
during Supayalat's Ulness, was put to death by the orders of 
Supayalat as soon as she regained her influence over the 
king. She concocted a charge of conspiracy against the 
ministers who had lent the king their assistance in deceiving 
her, and they were thrown into prison, where three of them 
were executed. 

Relations with the British. At this time rela- 
tions between the British and Burmese governments were 
strained. During Mindon Min's illness fresh outrages had 
been committed upon British subjects Colonel Wyndham, 
while preparing for a balloon ascent in Mandalay, was 
iR-treated in a barbarous fashion, and Captain Doyle of 
the Flotilla Company was put in the stocks for having 
walked across a part of the river embankment which was 
considered sacred. The official who put Doyle in the 
stocks was reduced and also sent to prison. In Colonel 
Wyndham's case and some cases of minor importance no 
redress was obtained. The British Eesident, Mr. Shaw, 
protested without effect against the barbarous massacre 
of the princes, and in October, 1879, the British Mission 
was recalled from Mandalay. After the massacre of the 
princes the Kinwun Mingyi was dismissed from office, and 
Supayalat became for several years Thibaw's supreme 

Plots against Thibawr. The exiled princes made 
efforts to assert themselves. The Nyaung Ok prince 
attempted a rising on the Thayetmyo border in June, 1880, 
but was obliged to take refuge in British Burma and was 
reconveyed to Calcutta, whence he had escaped. Four 




years later tte M5ringTin prince also escaped from Benares 
to Chandemagore, thence to Colombo, and was finally in- 
terned in Pondicherry. There he began to organise a rising 
with the help of the Shan chiefs, many of whom were 
disposed to favour his cause. The French authorities, 
however, put him under arrest. They were the less in- 
cUned to allow the plot to proceed because, since the de- 
parture of the British mission, the French agent in Man- 
dalay was working to imdermine British influence and to 
secure concessions from Thibaw 

State of Upper Burma. The raid of the Nyaung Ok 
prince had serious consequences. The Burmese govern- 
ment claimed damages to the extent of E,s.55,800, and was 
referred to the civil courts. The extradition of the prince 
and his followers on a charge of dacoity was refused, because 
international law forbade the surrender of political ofien- 
ders. From this time offences against British subjects in 
Upper Burma became increasingly frequent, and demands 
for redress were generally ignored. New royal monopolies 
were created in violation of the commercial treaties, and 
trade was thereby hampered and disorganized. The law- 
lessness of the court and the weakness of the government 
were reflected in the condition of the whole country. Bands 
of dacoits roamed at will everywhere, and some of them 
shared their plunder with the Taingda Mingyi and other 
ministers. The Sagaing bands invited the royal troops to 
fight with them at Myimnu. The Shan chiefs were engaged 
in civil war. The peace of the British frontier was con- 
stantly menaced by marauding bands, and the persistent 
efforts of Burmese missions to enter into alliances with 
European powers threatened political complications of a 
serious kind. An attempt to negotiate a new treaty at 
Simla in 1882 was ineffectual ; the draft treaty approved 
by the Burmese embassy was rejected by the king. 


Causes of the third Burmese War. A crisis 
occurred in the year 1884. Certain officials had been sent 
to gaol in Mandalay for complicity in the intrigues of the 
Myingun prince. Other guilty officials, fearing that they 
might be betrayed by the captives, planned their destruc- 
tion. They treacherously arranged for the secret liberation 
of certain prisoners, and, coming upon them as they were 
leaving the prison enclosure in which they were confined, 
raised the alarm^ of a gaol outbreak and fired upon them. 
Hearing the shots the troops rushed down to the prison, 
and a general massacre took place, the building being set 
on fire. Similar outrages were perpetrated in the town 
gaols. In all some three hundred persons were killed, 
including the few remaining members of the Royal family. 
Orders were issued that the dead should remain unburied 
for three days. The heads of some were impaled on 
bamboos as a warning to traitors, and scattered trunks and 
limbs were left lying about the cemetery. At the end of 
three days they were thrown into shallow trenches. While 
the horror caused by this massacre was fresh in the minds 
of the British, information was received that a treaty with 
the French had been signed in Mandalay and sent to Paris 
for ratification. The terms of the treaty included the 
building of a railway with French capital from Mandalay 
to Tong-King and the establishment of a French bank, 
which was to advance money to the king at twelve per cent, 
interest per annum, to manage the ruby mines, and to 
enjoy a monopoly of the trade in pickled tea. The interest 
on the railway loan was to be secured by the transference 
to French control of the river customs and earth-oil dues. 
The British government found an opportunity for inter- 
vention in the oppressive dealings of the Burmese govern- 
ment with the Bombay-Burma Trading Corporation. A 
sum of twenty -three lakhs of rupees v?is claimed from the 


Corporation on account of duty on teak exported or of 
fines inflicted by the courts without any proper hearing 
of the Corporation's defence. 

British ultimatum. The Chief Commissioner, Sir 
Charles Bernard, having failed in his efiorts to get the 
dispute with the Bombay-Burma Trading Corporation 
referred to arbitration, an ultimatum was despatched under 
orders of the Viceroy, Lord DufEerin, by special steamer to 
Mandalay on October 22nd, 1885, and a reply within the 
space of three weeks was demanded. The ultimatum 
stipulated (1) That an envoy from the Governor-general 
should be received in Mandalay, and the dispute with the 
Corporation settled with his assistance ; (2) That all action 
against the Corporation should be suspended until his 
arrival ; (3) That a diplomatic agent from the Viceroy 
should be received under suitable conditions in Mandalay. 
It was added that in future the foreign relations of the 
Burmese government would be controlled by the Govern- 
ment of India. The Kinwun Mingyi, as leader of the 
opposition, suggested acceptance of these terms ; but the 
king, acting on the advice of the Taingda Mingyi and the 
majority of the ministers, rejected them, and issued a 
proclamation defying the British and threatening to drive 
them into the sea. 

Thibaw surrenders. The British government had 
made preparations in anticipation of the king's refusal to 
comply with the ultimatum, and on the 14th of November, 
five days after the receipt of the Burmese reply, the frontier 
was crossed by the gunboat Irawadi, and the general 
advance began. The stockade at Sinbaungwe was cap- 
tured on the 16th, Minhla fort on the 17th, Pagan was 
occupied without opposition on the 23rd, and Myingyan 
on the 25th after a short bombardment. On the 26th a 
Burmese envoy met the expedition with a letter proposing 


an armistice. General Prendergast replied that he was 
prepared to grant a cessation of hostilities if King Thibaw 
surrendered with his army before four o'clock on the follow- 
ing morning. The advance was continued on the 27th, 
and Ava was reached. A message had been received there 
from Mandalay forbidding resistance, and the Burmese 
troops laid down their arms. On the 28th the army landed 
at Mandalay, and the next evening the king formally sur- 
rendered. He left Mandalay with his two queens and the 
queen mother on December 3rd, and sailed from Rangoon 
on the 10th. He was first of all removed to Madras, and 
later to Ratnagiri, on the Bombay coast, where he died in 
1917. The Taingda Mingyi, who was largely responsible 
for the massacres of the reign and had been always hostile 
to the British, was deported to Cuttack. Upper Burma 
was formally annexed by proclamation on January 1st, 
1886. From that date the history of Burma is merged in 
the history of the Indian Empire. 

Pacification of Upper Burma. The rapid march 
on Mandalay and the complete success of the British plans 
had one untoward result. The bands of soldiers who had 
been summoned to fight for their king found themselves 
without king before they had struck a blow. They formed 
themselves into companies under the leadership of princes 
or pretenders, dacoit chiefs, or monks professing miraculous 
powers, and swelled the number of robber bands which 
had infested the country during Thibaw's reign. The 
suppression of these bands and the final pacification of 
the new province involved five years of continuous and 
strenuous efiort, and the loss of many valuable lives. By 
the end of 1890 the country was tranquil, the railway 
was opened as far as Mandalay, and the military poHce 
battalions had been considerably reduced by the transfer 
pf men to the regular army. Only a few isolated dacoit 








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leaders with few followers still evaded pursuit, but the 
last of these was not captured till six years later. 


The Arakanese speak a dialect which is mainly Burmese 
with the old pronunciation in use before the consonant R 
was weakened to Y and the syllables ang, ah, etc., softened 
to in, ek, etc. But in the course of centuries the Arakanese 
dialect has been modified by the addition of words of 
Indian origin, as the race has been modified by a large 
admixture of Indian blood. The histories of Arakan and 
Burma are quite distinct, except during the short periods 
when Burma established a suzerainty over Arakan in the 
reigns of Anawrahta and some later kings. The country 
was finally conquered by Bodawpaya at the end of the 
eighteenth century. During the seven centuries between 
the reigns of Anawrahta and Bodawpaya, Arakan occupied 
a far less prominent position in Burmese history than Siam. 
But community of race and language gives Arakan some 
claim to be considered part of Burma, and it is proposed 
in this chapter to give a very brief connected sketch of 
Arakanese history. 

The country of Arakan comprises the strip of land along 
the Bay of Bengal, from the Naaf estuary to Cape Negrais. 
It is bounded eastward by the Arakan Yoma. The early 
legendary history of the country bears a strong resemblance 
to the early Burmese legends. The Arakanese annals open 
with the deluge, and describe the foundation of the first 
capital at Eamawadi, somewhere in Sandoway district. 


TMs city is said to have been founded by the Kanran tribe 
from Upper Burma. At a later period a king, born mirac- 
ulously of a doe, founded the city of Dinnyawadi, a name 
which was afterwards applied to the whole kingdom. Many 
centuries later Kanrazagyi and his followers came from 
Upper Burma and established a kingdom with a capital near 
Kyaukpadaung. A thousand years later still, in the second 
century a.d., Chanda Suriya was king. During his reign 
a famous image of Buddha was cast, to which miraculous 
powers were attributed. Buddha had attained Nirvana 
more than six centuries before this time, but the Arakanese 
place the date of Chanda Suriya's reign much earlier, in 
order to make it appear that the image was cast during the 
Ufe-time of Buddha and was an actual likeness. A tradition 
still survives that when the image, which was cast in three 
pieces, was put together, the head piece did not fit accurately, 
and Buddha himself touched it and made the joint perfect. 
This image, known as the Mahamuni image, was coveted 
by Anawrahta; who invaded the country in order to obtain 
it. Bodawpaya ultimately carried it ofE to Amarapura. 

Some sixty years before the reign of Chanda Suriya, 
when the kingdom of Prome came to an end by civil strife, 
an invasion of Burmese refugees was repelled by the 
Arakanese, who in their turn invaded Prome and sacked 
Tharekhettara. But from the time of Chanda Suriya down 
to the year 976 a.d. nothing historically certain or impor- 
tant is recorded. In that year Shan invaders entered 
Arakan and held the country for eighteen years, during 
which period they robbed the inhabitants and carried ofi 
from the temples everything of value. Anawrahta, who 
came to the throne of Burma soon after the retirement of 
the Shans from Arakan, next invaded the country, com- 
pelled the Arakanese to acknowledge his supremacy, and 
exacted tribute. During the reign of Kyansittha, son of 


Anawrahta, in Pagan, Min Bilu of Arakan was deposed by 
a usurper, and his son took refuge in Burma This prince's 
son, Letyaminnan, was restored by Alaungsithu, grandson 
and successor of Kyansittha, and Arakan was again sub- 
ordinate to Burma for some years from 1103 onwards. 

An invasion of Talaings is recorded about the year 1243, 
which seems to shew that, before the revolt of Pegu in 1273, 
the governors of the delta districts had taken advantage ■ 
of the weakness of Tarokpyemin and his difficulties with 
China, and had made themselves independent. The Shan 
kings of Panya invaded the country some fifty years later, 
according to the Arakanese accounts ; but in 1333 the 
king of Arakan, a son of Min Bilu, carried off Min Shin Saw, 
the governor of Thayetmyo. He released him about ten 
years later. During this period Arakan was in the utmost 
disorder, and usurpations were frequent. In 1373 the 
Arakanese are said to have asked Mingyi Swa Sawk6, 
king of Burma, to nominate a king for Arakan, and he 
selected his uncle, Sawmungyi. The latter was soon 
driven out, however, and the country again fell into the 
greatest confusion. In 1389 Arakan became involved in 
the war between Burma and Pegu, and took the side of 
the Talaings. The son of Laukbya, the rebel king of 
Myaungmya, having taken refuge in Sandoway, was handed 
over to Razadirit, and king Thinsa shortly afterwards 
made a raid into Burmese territory. Min Khaung, to 
punish this raid, invaded Arakan in 1404 and again in 
1406, and Min Saw Mun, king of Arakan, fled to Bengal 
in the latter year. There he remained under the protection 
of the king of Bengal for over twenty years. In the interval 
Arakan became a battle-ground for the armies of Pegu 
and Burma, and each king in turn placed his own nominee 
on the throne of Arakan, the last ruler of the series being a 
Talaing. Nazir Shah, king of Bengal, in 1430 undertook 


to restore Min Saw Mun, and after one failure succeeded. 
Min Saw Mun founded a new capital at Myauk-u or Arakan 
city (Myohaung), and ruled as the vassal of Bengal. 

The brother and successor of Min Saw Mun, known as 
Min Khari or Ali Khan, rejected the suzerainty of Bengal 
and annexed part of the territory of Chittagong. His son, 
Ba Saw Pyu, who came to the throne in 1459, captured the 
Chittagonian capital. Then followed a period of murders' 
and usurpations. Min Bin came to the throne in 1531, 
the year following the accession of Tabin Shwehti to the 
throne of Taungu. The Arakanese king foresaw the in- 
vasion of his own kingdom and made preparations for its 
defence. The capital was fortified, and an army was sent 
south to oppose the invaders. Another army was sent 
to- help'in the defence of Prome in 1541, but it was routed 
by Bayin Naung. In 1544, through the treachery of the 
governor of Sandoway, Tabin Shwehti's troops occupied 
that town but could not advance northwards. Two years 
later Tabin Shwehti himself appeared in Arakan and drove 
the enemy before him as far as the walls of Myauk-u, 
which was too strong to be captured by assault. The two 
kings came to terms, and the governor of Sandoway was 
pardoned for his treason. The Burmese army then re- 
turned to Pegu in 1546. A Burmese army, sent by sea 
against Arakan, encamped at Sandoway in 1580, but was 
withdrawn a year later on the death of Bayin Naung. 

To avenge the last invasion, Min Razagyi, king of Arakan, 
sent a fleet in 1596 under the command of his son, Min 
Khamaung, to assist the rebels who were destroying the 
Burmese empire. The Arakanese prince captured Syriam 
and left a garrison in the fort. A Portuguese menial in the 
royal household, Philip de Brito, whose abiUty had enabled 
him to rise to a position of trust, was appointed the king's 
agent at Syriam, and by treachery secured the fort and 


held it for a time as a Portuguese factory, but soon con- 
ceived the idea of becoming ruler of Pegu. The first 
attempt to recover Syriam was unsuccessful, and Min 
Khamaung was captured. A very heavy ransom was 
paid for his release. De Brito was overthrown by the 
Burmese in 1613, and cruelly put to death. 

Another Portuguese adventurer, Gonzales by name, 
became famous at this time as a leader of Portuguese pirates, 
large numbers of whom lived by plundering the coasts of 
Bengal, Chittagong and Arakan, and Asiatic vessels at sea. 
These pirates had their headquarters at Dianga, twenty miles 
south of Chittagong. The Arakanese king, Min Eazagyi, 
stormed Dianga in 1607 and slaughtered most of the in- 
habitants. Gonzales was amongst those who escaped. 
Two years later he seized several small islands at the' mouth 
of the Megna, and married the sister of the governor of 
Chittagong, who, having quarrelled with his brother, the 
king of Arakan, fled to the islands of the pirates for refuge. 
Gonzales had him poisoned, and seized his treasure. 
Razagyi was now forced to make alliance with Gonzales 
to repel an attack by the governor of Bengal, who was 
bent on recovering the territory which the Arakanese had 
seized. The Mogul troops were driven back, and the 
Arakanese strengthened their hold on Chittagong. Gon- 
zales now treacherously murdered the Arakanese captains 
at a conference and seized their ships. The arrival of 
fresh troops from Bengal forced the king to retreat to 
Myauk-u. Here Gonzales' nephew, who had been given 
as a hostage to Eazagyi, was put to death, and Gonzales, 
by way of revenge, made a raid up the Kaladan river. Min 
Khamaung became king in 1612 and determined to crush 
Gonzales. The latter made an alliance with the Portuguese 
viceroy of Goa, who sent a fleet against Arakan in 1615. 
Gonzales joined it, but the Arakanese, aided by some 


Dutch ships, repelled the attack. About two years later 
Min Khamaung attacked the pirate stronghold on the 
island of Sandip, at the mouth of the Megna, and destroyed 
it. Most of the pirates were killed ; Gonzales escaped, but 
was never heard of again. Min Khamaung next invaded 
Bengal and extended his conquests as far as Dacca. The 
Arakanese still remember with pride his useless victories 
in the outlying provinces of the Mogul empire, and regard 
him as a national hero. He died in 1622. 

Thiri Thudhamma Eaza, son of Min Khamaung, succeeded 
him and ruled for sixteen years. He exacted tribute 
from Dacca and interfered in the afiairs of Burma. In 
1629 he sent an army to assist Min-re-deippa, whose uncles 
had combined to deprive him of his throne, but the assist- 
ance arrived too late. The army carried off to Arakan the 
bell which Maha Dhamma Raza hung at his palace gate. 
When the British conquered Arakan in 1825 this bell was 
taken to India by a native .officer. 

The succeeding reigns were marked by no event of 
importance, until Sanda Thudhamma came to the throne 
in 1652. During his reign Shah Shuja, defeated in the 
struggle for power by his brother, Aurungzeb, fled to 
Arakan for protection. The Indian prince, having refused 
to give his daughter in marriage to the Arakanese king, 
was put to death with all his family. Aided by the Portu- 
guese the Arakanese plundered Bengal as far as Dacca, but 
the governor of Bengal induced the Portuguese by presents 
of money and land to leave the service of Sanda Thudhamma 
and ultimately defeated him. Chittagong, which had been 
first captured by Ba Saw P3ni in 1459, lost again fifty years 
later, and again recaptured by Min Bin about 1548, was 
now besieged by the governor of Bengal and taken in 1666. 
The Arakanese were thus finally expelled from the country 
north of Ramu. Sanda Thudhamma died in 1684. 


Those followers of Shah Shuja who had not fallen in 
defence of their master were taken into the service of the 
Arakanese king as a bodyguard of archers. They were 
increased in number by the addition of recruits from India, 
and during the period of disorder which followed the death 
of Sanda Thudhamma they elected and deposed kings at 
their will. In twenty-two years they appointed ten kings. 
Then an Arakanese, Maha Danda Bo, gathered a number of 
adherents and broke their power. In 1710 he made himself 
king with the title of Sanda Wizaya. During his reign 
incursions were made into the territory of Bengal, and an 
army invaded Burma and occupied Prome, but in neither 
case was any permanent result achieved. 

Sanda Wizaya was deposed by his son-in-law after a 
reign of twenty-one years. The only events of importance 
from this time to the conquest of Arakan by Bodawpaya 
in 1784 were the great earthquakes in 1761 and 1762, 
which were believed to foretell the downfall of the kingdom. 
The state of the country may be inferred from the list of 
kings who followed Sanda Thudhamma. In a hundred 
years twenty-five kings came to the throne, and of these 
eight were usurpers. The country was ripe for conquest 
and offered no formidable resistance to Bodawpaya ; but 
the substitution of Burmese for Arakanese rule was of 
little advantage to the kingdom of Arakan, and thousands 
of Arakanese sought refuge in British territory. Finally, 
during the war of 1824-1826 Arakan was occupied by the 
British, and at the close of the war it was transferred to 
the British crown. Under British rule it has enjoyed 
a century of peace and prosperity, and during the iWerval 
between the first and second Burmese wars many Burmans 
entered Arakan by the An pass from Upper Burma to 
escape from the misrule of the Burmese kings. 




The basis of the Burmese system, of government was the 
despotic power of the king. Theoretically the land was his 
property and his subjects were his slaves, obUged to serve 
him in war, to maintain Ms court in royal state, and to pay 
such taxes and special contributions as he might demand. 
His subjects could not leave the country without his per- 
mission, and such permission was given only for a tem- 
porary purpose. Women were not allowed to leave the 
country at all, and this prohibition applied to the daughters 
of European re.sidents by Burmese mothers. 

In the work of government the king was assisted by two 
councils and numerous officials. The first of these councils 
was called the Hlutdaw. It consisted usually of four 
wungyis, but the number was occasionally raised to five or 
even six if a wungyi had to be despatched on special duty, 
as goyernor of a province, for example. This council met 
in a special building in the palace enclosure. The king was 
its nominal president and was often present at its meetings. 
In his absence the Ein-she-min or a specially nominated 
prince generally presided. Each wungyi had an assistant 
or wundauh, who sat in the council, and there were eight or 
more secretaries. Every royal edict was issued through the 
hlvidaw and required its nominal sanction. Each wungyi 
exercised judicial functions, and the supreme court of 
appeal was the Mutdaw collectively. 

The second council was the ByJidaik, formed of the four 
atmnwuns or ministers of the palace. Nominally inferior 
to the hlutdaw, they acquired great influence through their 


constant contact with, the king, and advised him on all 
matters which were submitted to the hlutdaw. Like the 
members of the hlutdaw, the atwinwuns exercised judicial 
powers both singly and collectively. They had a large 
number of secretaries to report the proceedings of the 
byedaik, note the king's orders, and report on petitions. 
Certain secretaries also were deputed to attend the meetings 
of the hlutdaw and report to the king. 

For purposes of government the country was divided 
into provinces, called by the name of their chief towns and 
governed by a wun, who was the supreme judicial, executive, 
military, civil and revenue ofELcer. He corresponded with 
the hlutdaw, to which he was nominally subordinate. The 
wun was very often of the royal house. Under him were 
the ahunwun or tax collector, an akaukwun or collector of 
customs, and in the maritime provinces a yewun or port 
officer. The districts and villages were governed re- 
spectively by myothugyis or town-headmen, and ywathu- 
gyis or village-headmen. Before the minor officials 
only civil cases were tried ; serious criminal cases were 
tried by the wun. In each provincial town was a civil 
court under a civil judge or tayathugyi ; in the capital was 
a tayamathugyi or civil chief judge, but much of his power 
was usurped by the two councils. In each provincial court 
there was also a sitleh or police magistrate, who was respon- 
sible for the preservation of order. The myowun of the 
capital had police jurisdiction in the neighbourhood of 
Amarapura, Ava, and Sagaing. Piracy was so prevalent 
on the Irawadi that a special yewun or myitsinwun was 
appointed in charge of the river police with power of life 
and death. 

In addition to these higher officers there was a host of 
minor officials in charge of the forests, ordnance, revenue, 
etc. Each of the four chief queens had her own ministers 



and household. When a district was assigned to a royal 
prince or favourite, or to an official in lieu of salary, the 
person to whom the district was assigned, called myosa, 
appointed his own subordinates to collect his revenues. 
Before the reign of Mindon Min officials were paid no 
salaries, but collected what they could from the taxpayer. 
Every lawsuit of any kind offered opportunities for the 
fextraction of heavy fees, and taxes largely in excess of the 
Amount required by the government were levied in order to 
provide for the officials who gathered them. Appointments 
were revocable at the will of the king, though myothugyi- 
ships tended to become hereditary. Every official there- 
fore made the most of his opportunities for plunder. It 
is not surprising that under this system justice was perverted 
and police duties were negligently carried out. Robbery 
and piracy were frequent, and dacoits very often paid toll 
to high officials in order to secure immunity from punish- 
ment. Only monks were exempt from these extortions 
and from the duties incumbent on the rest of the nation. 
Even the outcastes — pagoda slaves, burners of the dead, 
lepers, incurables, maimed and mutilated persons, and 
others — were under the jurisdiction of the lesowun, who 
assessed their villages for taxation and extorted money 
from persons of wealth, whom a scar or a patch of leucoderma 
might bring under suspicion of being leprous and render 
liable to confinement in the settlements of outcastes. 

The army. No regular army was maintained, but 
troops were levied for an expedition as occasion arose. 
The number of the levy was fixed by royal mandate, and 
each governor was ordered to supply his quota. The 
villages were divided into groups of houses, and each group 
had to supply one or more men. Those were selected for 
preference who had wives and families to leave behind as 
security for their good behaviour. Cowardice or insubor- 


dination might be punished by the imprisonment or execu- 
tion of the soldier and his family. Those who were unwilling 
to serve could purchase exemption by contributions to 
the war fund. Each soldier received a certain amount of 
rice and money proportionate to the time which the ex 
pedition was expected to last. This was provided by the 
group of houses to which he belonged. If the expedition 
was prolonged the villages might be called upon for a fresh 
contribution; little of that, as a rule, reached the army, 
and the soldier in the field lived by plunder. Arms and 
ammunition were provided from the royal treasury, usually 
on the most meagre scale. Many of the troops were armed 
only with the spear and the dah which they carried in 
ordinary civil live. In some districts special customs 
grew up. Some of these are described by Colonel Yule. 
Prome is said to have provided 1500 volunteers, who were 
always ready for service and were maintained at the public 
expense. When it was found necessary to have a small 
permanent force at the capital, certain villages were charged 
with the duty of providing contingents, and were exempt 
from all other service and taxation. Certain townships 
along the river were called upon to furnish war-boats as 
well as men. 

Badly armed and badly led, the Burmese soldier fought 
bravely and proved himself superior in war to all his 
immediate neighbours. He acquitted himself creditably 
against Indian regular troops, but failed, as others have 
done, to face British bayonets. But the natural bravery 
and dash of the Burmese soldier was balanced by lack of 
discipline and combination. At the time when Bandula 
was making his bold stand against the British power, and 
performing feats of which the Burman still boasts, evasions 
of military duty were so frequent that the ordinary methods 
of conscription broke down, and recruits had to be bribed 


with bounties of one hundred and fifty rupees to undertake 
mihtary service. The recruits so obtained were for the 
most part rogues and vagabonds from the streets of the 

Revenue. The only regular revenues were import and 
export duties, and the produce of the royal monopolies, 
namely mines, earth oil, and teak. These were sometimes 
assigned in part to members of the royal family or ministers. 
The mines were also sometimes let out on contract, but 
every ruby or sapphire worth over one hundred rupees 
had to be deposited in the royal treasury. Under the later 
kings were added regular taxes on fisheries, fruit trees, 
ngapi, salt, etc., and the royal monopolies were extended 
so as to include most of the regular articles of commerce. 
This extension of monopoUes formed one of the chief points 
of dispute between the British and Burmese governments. 
When an expedition was on foot, a pagoda to be built oi 
repaired, or a canal or tank to be dug, a special cess was 
levied on the whole country. From this cess the capital 
and the districts immediately attached to it were exempt. 
The cess took the form of a house tax, and the amount was 
fixed according to the object for which it was intended. 
Each levy was made the occasion of extortion by the district 
officials. The Karens of Lower Burma enjoyed a special 
position. Each tribe or village was assessed according to 
the estimated number of families it contained, and a fixed 
poll tax was paid annually at a much higher rate than the 
irregular cess levied from the Burmese. In return the 
Karens were granted freedom from military service and 
all forced labour, such as the building of pagodas or the 
digging of tanks and canals. Not until Mindon Min's reign 
was any attempt made to apply a similar system to the 
Burmese. Extortion was nominally prohibited, but the 
prohibition was rarely enforced. A governor accused of 


extortion could generally purcliase freedom from punish- 
ment by making over Ms gains to a powerful minister or a 
fa,vourite queen. Those districts which were assigned to 
a minister or a member of the royal family paid to him a 
tithe of their produce over and above the ordinary taxes 
and cess. 

Society. There was no hereditary nobihty, no class of 
hereditary officials in Burma, to check the absolute power 
of the king. Every official, from the highest to the lowest, 
was removable at the royal pleasure. And every subject 
of the Mng, except a slave or outcaste, might hope to 
attain the highest position in the state. Even the slave, 
provided he were not attached to the service of a pagoda, 
might earn his freedom and share the chance of power. 
The element of chance lent zest to life ; for the Burman 
is by instinct as confirmed a gambler as the Chinaman. 
A degree of oppression which in many countries would 
have provoked a national rising, in Burma produced only 
brigandage or occasional attempts at usurpation. The 
usurper had no intention of introducing reforms, but merely 
hoped to compensate himself and his supporters at the 
expense of his fellow-sufferers. Even the atrocities of 
Pagan Min in the capital were endured for three years 
before his subjects rose and demanded the hves of his 
brutal favourites. The massacres of princes of the blood, 
which so often followed the accession of a new king, and 
which reached their culminating point in Thibaw's reign, 
did not affect the subjects of the king, who felt themselves 
in no personal danger. The Buddhist prayer for deliver- 
ance from " the three calamities, the four states of punish- 
ment, and the five enemies," classes officials with fire, water, 
robbers, and ill-wishers. But in a country where life is 
maintained with very little effort, and there is little incen- 
tive to accumulate wealth, the rapacity of the governor 


was tolerated by the mass of the population The restless 
few hoped to join, and often succeeded in joining, the 
official class. In the country districts communications 
were not easy and ,the population was scattered. An 
organized rebellion would therefore have been difficult. 
In the capital and its environs the odious cess was not levied, 
and the people enjoyed better administration and greater 
powers of appeal against injustice. So that where a rising 
on a considerable scale would have been possible, the temp- 
tation was absent And there seems to be no doubt that, 
down to the end of the eighteenth century at anyrate, the 
peasantry of any country in Europe might reasonably have 
envied the lot of the Burmese cultivator, in spite of all that 
is said above. 

Some writers have emphasized the non-progressive 
character of the Burmese. Mr. G. H. Parker says : " The 
history of Europe and even of China exhibits from era to 
era the progress of art, literature, popular and municipal 
rights and institutions, maritime and manufacturing enter- 
prise, invention and discovery, court luxury, aristocratic 
refinement, philosophy, public buildings, histrionic displays, 
and innumerable other ma,tters of human interest. But 
the native-ruled Burma of to-day was, until we took it, 
precisely the Burma of the T'ang dynasty (ninth century 
A.D ) unless perhaps retrograded and more corrupt . 
The Burmese of the kingdom of Ava, like those of to-day 
and those of earlier times, did little and left little, if 
anything, for the benefit of mankind in general." And 
Colonel Yule remarks : " It is curious to see how exactly 
the description of Pegu given by Master Caesar Fredericke 
as it existed in 1567 corresponds with the present state of 
Amarapura." The accusation is true in the main. The 
history of Burma is a recital of incessant wars, not an 
account of progress. What would have been of absorbing 


interest, the history of the gradual spread of Buddhism 
and its victory over rival creeds, has been lost. But the 
arrested development of civilisation is a fact of common 
remark in all Oriental countries. In Burma there were 
special reasons for lack of progress. The incentives to 
exertion which in cold climates rouse even the laziest to 
some display of energy are in Burma entirely absent. In 
Europe a certain amount of gear is essential to the mere 
preservation of life. In Burma the roughest shelter and a 
shred of clothing suffice. In Europe, and even in India, 
crops are obtained by dint of severe labour, and provision 
must be made against years of scarcity. In Burma the 
slightest scratching of the soil is sufficient, and famine is 
almost unknown. The ambition which prompts the 
European of ample means " to scorn delights and live 
laborious days " is alien to the Burmese character and 
religion, and under the political and social conditions of 
Burma would have been futile. There was no hereditary 
aristocracy, so that it was impossible to found a famUy. 
By Buddhist law a man might not make a will ; his pro- 
perty was divided according to fixed and elaborate rules 
amongst his surviving relatives. Even the power of accu- 
mulated wealth was therefore denied him. A sumptuary 
law inspired by fear of rebellion forbade the Burmese 
subjects of the king to build houses of stone or brick, which 
might be used as fortresses in times of civil disturbance. 
The Burman was thus prevented from displapng his wealth 
and taste in magnificent mansions ; nor was it prudent to 
store treasures of jewelry or art in wooden buildings open 
to any thief who chose to enter by night, and liable to be 
consumed in one of the periodic fires that lay waste Burmese 
towns. Such display, too, would have marked out a man 
as a suitable object for spoliation by the king or his officials. 
It remained therefore for the wealthy Burman to limit his 


display to some ostentation in dress, and to spend tlie 
balance of. his fortune in tlie building of pagodas and in 
otter works, of merit, so securing for himself progress 
towards Nirvana. At least his methods were consistent 
with the Buddhist doctrine, which he repeated regularly 
before the image of the Master ; " All is vexation, imper- 
manence, unreality." 

Under the Burmese kings the accumulation of wealth, 
except in the royal treasury, was impossible for the reasons 
given above. The accumulation of wealth in the hands of 
subjects was limited by the Buddhist law of inheritance to 
the period of a single Ufe, and restricted in amount by the 
king's rapacity Only the king therefore could undertake 
works for which considerable capital was required. The 
great pagodas and monasteries, the artifical lakes and 
irrigation canals, disprove to some extent the accusation 
of the critic quoted above, wl^o is himself constrained to 
admit the excellence of Burmese architecture There are 
not wanting signs that under the influence of western ideas 
the Burman is learning to reconcile his religion with progress, 
and his future may justify the intense interest which he 
inspires in those Europeans who know him best. 


Foundation of Kyaukpadaung in Arakan, B.C. 825 

Destruction of Tagaung, \ between B.C. 600-550 
Foundation of Old Pagan, j 

Foundation of Prome, B.C. 483 

Downfall of the kingdom of Prome, - - a.d. 9 

Foundation of New Pagan, - - - 108 

Chanda Suriya king of Arakan, - - 146 

Kyaungdarit king of Pagan, 388 

Mission of Buddhaghosa to Thaton, - about 450 

Foundation of Pegu (Hanthawadi), 573 

Burmese Era inaugurated by Thinga Raza, 639 

Shan invasion of Arakan, 976 

Anawrahta Saw king of Pagan, - 1010 

Alaungsithu king of Pagan, - 1085 

Alaungsithu invades Arakan, - - 1102 

Talaing invasion of Arakan, 1243 

Tarokpyemin expelled from Pagan by the Chinese, 1285 

Ava founded by Thadominbya, - - 1364 

Eazadirit king of Pegu, - - 1385 

Min Khaung king of Burma, - 1400 

Shans sack Ava, - - 1526 

Min Bin king of Arakan, - - - 1531 

Tabin Shwehti king of Taungu, - 1536 

Tabin Shwehti captures Pegu, 1539 

Bayin Naung, king of Taungu, conquers Pegu, 1551 

Bayin Naung captures Ava, IS-''* 

Bayin Naung captures Ayuthia, 1564 

De Brito seizes Syriam, - 1^*^ 



Thado Dhamma Raza king of all Bunna, 1632 

Chinese invade Bunua and attack Ava, - 1659 

Pegu revolts from Burma, 1740 

Byinnya Dala king of Pegu, 1746 

Talaingg capture Ava, 1-752 

Alaungpaya seizes Ava, - 1753 

Alaungpaya captures Rangoon, 1755 

Alaungpaya captures Pegu, - 1757 

Alaungpaya invades Siam, 1760 

Chinese wars, 1765 to 1769 

Bodawpaya conquers Arakan, 1784 

Symes' first embassy, 1795 

British declare war on Burma, 1824 

British capture Rangoon, 1824 

British conquer Arakan, 1825 

Treaty of Yandabo, 1826 

Second Anglo-Burmese war begins, April, 1852 
Annexation of Pegu, December, 1852 

Yule's embassy, - 1855 

Mandalay made the capital, 1860 

Thibaw king, 1878 

Massacre of the princes, 1879 

Third Anglo-Burmese war, 1885 

Upper Burma annexed, - Jan. 1st, 1886 


The •appended list of books, which is by no means exhaustive, 
may be of service to readers who wish to investigate in detail the 
history and customs of Burma. Works of fiction are marked with 
an asterisk : 

The Burmese Empire. 1783-1808. - - Sangermano. 

Embassy to Ava in 1795. Symes. 

Journal of a Residence in the Burman Empire. Cox. 
Two Years in Ava. 1824-1826. Trant. 

Narrative of the Burmese War. 1824-1826. Snodgrass. 
Journal of an Embassy to Ava. 1829. Crawfurd. 

Narrative of the Mission to the Court of Ava 

in 1855. Yule. 

Historical Summary. 1869-1870. 

British Burma Gazetteer. 1880. Spearman. 

Legendary History of Burma and Arakan. Forbes. 

Notes on the Early History and Geography of 

British Burma. Porchammer. 

Burma and her Relations with China. Parker. 

Life of Judson. Bonar. 

Burma under British Rule and before. Nisbet. 

The Census of 1901-02. Lewis. 

Purchas' Pilgrims : 

Caesar Fredericke of Venice. 

Gaspero Balbi. 

Ralph Fitch. 

Nicholas Plmenta. 

Peter Williamson Floris. 




The Burman, his Life and Notions. 

Sir J. G. Scott. 

The Burman and his Future. - 




A History of Buddhism. 


The Silken East. 

Scott O'Connor. 

Mandalay and other Cities in Burma. 


The Alaungpra Dynasty. 


British Burma. 


Imperial Gazetteer of India. Provincial Series. 


Gazetteer of Upper Burma. 1900. 

Sir J. 6. Scott and 

J. P. Hardiman. 

Burma. - 

Bertha and Max 

Perrars. • 

*With the Jungle Polk. 

B. D. Cuming. 

*In the Shadow of the Pagoda. 


♦Palace Tales. - 

Fielding HaU. 

*Tliibaw's Queen. 


The Soul of a People (an idealized view of the 



A Nation at School. 


*The Treasury Officer's Wooing. 


*The Machinations of the Myook. 



The references are to pages. 

Abhi-raza, founder of Tagaung, 

Alaungpaya : revolts against 
TaJaing rule, 61 : defeats 
Talaban, 62 : captures Ava, 
62 : subdues the Shans, 63 : 
relieves Prome, 64 : captures 
Rangoon, 65 : annexes Mo- 
gaung, 66 : receives British 
and French agents, 66 : de- 
stroys Syriam, 67 : captures 
Pegu, 69 : captures Tavoy 
and Mergui, 69 : invades 
Manipur, 70 : invades Siam, 
71 : dies, 71. 

Alaungaithu, king of Pagan, 19. 

Alenandaw queen, 136, 137. 

Amarapura founded, 88 : de- 
stroyed by fire, 99 : capital 
of Tharawadi Min, 118. 

Anauk-bet-lun-min. See Maha 
Dhamma Raza. 

Anawrahta, king of Burma, 17, 
18 : captures Thaton, 17 : re- 
lations with Arakan and Shan 
states, 18. 

Arahan, 17. 

Arakan : subject to Anawrahta, 
18 : Burmese intervention, 19 : 
invaded by Burmese, 34 : 
abortive invasion of, 50 : con- 
quered by Bodawpaya, 88 : 
revolts, 94 : occupied by 

British, 109 : annexed by 
British, 114. [See chapter 
xxiii. generally.] 

Arakanese : Introduction : sack 
Prome, 13 : invade Burma, 28, 
34, 69 : at Prome, 42 : attack 
Syriam, 53, 55 : take refuge 
in Chittagong, 94, 95, 96. 

Ari, 17. 

Athengkhara the Shan, 28. 

Aungpinld lake, 19. 

Ava : founded, 32 : at war with 
Pegu, 33, 34 : peace, 34 : 
war renewed, 34 : [see also 
Pegu] captured by Talaings, 
60 : captured by Alaungpaya, 
63 : besieged by Talaings, 64 : 
capital of Sinbyushin, 75 : 
abandoned by Bodawpaya, 
88 : capital of Bagyidaw, 100. 

Ayuthia : captured by Bayin 
Naung, 49, 50 : captured 
by Thihapate, 75. 


Badon Min, son of Alaungpaya, 
85. See Bodawpaya. 

Bagyidaw : king of Burma, 99 : 
interferes in Assam, 100 : in 
Manipur, 101 : in Arakan, 101 : 
at war with British, 102 : 
develops insanity, 117: abdi- 
cates, 118. 

Baingzat, Maung, 120. 




Balamiuhtin, Burmese general, 
76, 79. 

Bandula ; in Assam, 100 : in 
Manipur, 101 : in Arakan, 101 : 
before Rangoon, 106 : at 
Danubyu, 108 : killed, 109. 

Bassein : captured by British, 

Bayin Narabadi, king of Ava, 

Bayin Naung, general of Taungu, 
41 : attacks Prome, 41, 42 : 
declared heir-apparent, 41, 44 : 
in Siam, 44 : regent at Pegu, 
45 : retires to the hills, 47 : 
conquers Taungu and Prome, 

47 : conquers Pegu, 47 • con- 
quers Ava, 48 : overruns Shan 
states, 48 : conquers Zimme, 

48 : regulates Shan customs, 
48 : invades Siam and 
captures Ayuthia, 49, 50 : 
subdues revolt of Mohnyin 
and Mogaung, 50 : mission to 
Ceylon, 50 : prepares to in- 
vade Arakan, 50 : dies, 50. 

Bedari, princess, 11. 

Bein, Maung, 120. 

Benson, Colonel, British resident 
at Ava, 119. 

Bheinaka, 10. 

Bintale, king of Ava, 57, 58. 

Bodawpaya : king of Ava, 86 : 
builds Amarapura, 88 : con- 
quers Arakan, 90 : invades 
Siam, 91 : builds Mingun 
pagoda, 91 : intrigues with 
Indian princes, 96 : interferes 
in Assam, 97 : interferes in 
Manipur, 98 : death, 98 : 
his reforms, 98. 

Bramahin, crown prince of Siam, 
49, 50. 

British : settlements in Burma, 
57, 60 : in Syriam and 
Bassein, 66 : envoys ill- 
treated, 72, 94, 95, 119, 122 : 
declare war on Burma, 102 : 
occupy Rangoon, 102 : capture 
Syriam, Tavoy, and Pegu, 104 : 
expel Burmese from Assam and 

Manipur, 108 : capture Arakan, 
108 : traders and subjects 
ill-treated, 121, 139, 141 : 
second Burmese war, 123 : 
annex Pegu, 126 : third Bur- 
mese war, 143 : annex Upper 
Burma, 144. 

Buddhaghosa, 15. 

Buddhism, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 

Burmese era, 16. 

Bumey, Major, British resident 
at Ava, 115, 116, 117, 118: 
retires, 119. 

Byataba, usurper in Martaban, 

Byinnya Dala, king of Pegu, 
60 : captures Ava, 61 : 
executed, 84. 

Byinnya Dhamma Raza, king 
of Pegu, 39. 

Byinnya Ran, king of Pegu, 40. 

Byinnyaranda, 29, 30. 

Byinnya-u, king of Pegu, 30. 


Campbell, Sir Archibald, captures 
Rangoon, 102 : advances on 
Ava, 109 : captures Prome, 
111 : negotiates for peace, 
113 : defeats Burmese at 
Pagan, 114 : concludes treaty 
of Yandabo, 114. 

Canning, British agent in Ran- 
goon, 95, 96. 

Cannon, first use of, 30. 

Ceylon : missions from, 14, 19 
mission to, 18 : war with, 22 
mission to Bayin Naung, 50 
mission to Bodawpaya, 96. 

Chanda Suriya, 147. 

Chandra Kanta, raja of Assam, 
97, 100. 

Cheape, Sir John, 127. 

Ohiengmai. See Zimme. 

China : mission to, 18 : con- 
quered by Mongols, 24 : at 
war with Burma, 24, 25. 

Chiubyan, Arakanese rebel, 95. 

Chinese : invade Burma, 10, 16, 
24, 25, 28, 34, 36, 38, 68, 69, 



76, 77, 78, 79 : claims of 
suzerainty, 38, 57, 82 : settled 
in Ava, 77 : mission to Bodaw- 
paya, 91. 

Chittagong : invaded by Bur- 
mese, 94, 95. 

Chorjit Sing of Manipur, 98, 

Christians : settled in Ava, 56 : 
gunners, 58, 78 : . villages in 
Chindwin-Irawadi doab, 68. 

Cotton, Sir Willoughby, 109, 111. 

Crawfurd, British envoy, 115. 

Cox, British envoy, 94. 


Bagon. See Bangoon. 

Balaban, Talaing general, 60 : 
captures Ava, 60 : attacks 
Alaungpaya, 142 : recalled, 
62 : invades Burma, 64 : re- 
treats, 64 : takes service with 
Alaungpaya, 69 : invades 
Martaban, 73. 

Dalhousie, Lord, governor- 
general of India, supports 
captains' claims for compensa- 
tion, 122 : visits Rangoon, 
125 : receives Burmese em- 
bassy, 128. 

Baza-raza, 10. 

De Brito, 54 : seizes Syriam and 
obtains help from Goa, 54 : 
acknowledged ruler of Syriam, 
55 : his oppression, 55 : cap- 
tures Taungu, .65 : defeated 
and executed, 56. 

Dhammazedi, king of Pegu, 39. 

Dibati, king of Ava, 59 : cap- 
tured by Talaings, 60 : put 
to death by Alaungpaya, 65. 

iDottabaung, 12. 

Dragon worship, 16. 

Dutch : settlements in Burma, 
46, 57 : mercenaries in 
Talaing army, 60 : in Syriam, 

Earthquakes, 79, 92, 152. 
East India Company, 92, 125. 

Eden, Sir Ashley, 133. 
Europeans in Burma, 46. 


Erench : in Syriam, 66 : in- 
trigue with Mindon Min, 134 : 
with Thibaw, 141, 142. 

Fytohe, Colonel, 133. 


Gambhir Sing of Manipur, 101, 

Godwin, General, 123 to 126. 

Gonzales, Portuguese adven- 
turer, 150. 

Govind Chandra of Kachar, 101. 

Gyi, Maung, son of Bandula, 
125, 126. 


Hanthawadi. See Pegu. 
Hmawdaw, king of Pegu, 39. 

Jaintia : invaded by Burmese, 

84. ' 

Judson, American missionary, 

113 to 115. 


Kaohar : invaded by Burmese, 

Kale-kabaw Valley, 98 : as- 
signed to Burma, 117. 

Kanran, 9, 13. 

Kan-raza-gyi, 9, 147. 

Kan-raza-ng^, 9, 10. 

Khepaduta,, 11. 

Kinwun Mingyi : envoy to 
Europe, 134 : plots against 
Mindon Min, 137 : dismissed, 
139 : advocates submission, 

Kublai Khan : conquers China, 

Kula-kya-min. See KTarathu. 

Kyansittha, king of Pagan, 19. 

Kyaiik Lon, Maung, general, 

Kyawswa, king of Pagan, 26 : 
deposed, 28 : killed, 28. 



Kyi Wungyi, general under 
Bagyidaw, 106, 110, 111, 112. 

Lambert, Commodore, 122. 
Lauk, Maung, son of AJaungpaya, 

63 : defeated by Talaings, 

64 : besieged in Ava, 64 : 

king, 73. 
Letwewinhmu, Burmese general, 

defeats Chinese, 76, 77, 80. 
Lewis, 121. 
Linzin, king of, 49, 50. 


Mackertich, governor of Minhla, 

Maha Dhamma Raza, king of 
Ava, 56. 

Mahamuni image, 90, 147. 

Maha NsCwrahta, Burmese gene- 
ral, 73, 74. 

Maha Nemyo, Burmese general, 
111, 112. 

Maha Sithu, Burmese general, 
77, 78. 

Malia Thambawa, 12. 

Maha Thihathura, Burmese 
general, 77, 78, 79 : makes 
peace with China, 80 : de- 
graded, 82 : invades Siam, 
84 : disgraced, 85 : restored, 
86 : executed, 87. 

Maha Thilawa, general in Assam, 
97, 100 : at Danubyu, 106 : 
at Kokine, 108. 

Mandalay founded, 130. 

Manipuris : attack Burma, 59 : 
invade Burma, 75 : attacked 
by Alaungpaya, 69 : con- 
quered by Sinbyushin, 75, 
83 : country invaded by 
Bagyidaw, 101 : dispute with 
Burma about Kale valley, 117. 

Manuha, 17. 

Marjit Sing of Manipur, 98, 

Marks, Reverend Dr., 135. 

Martaban, capital of Pegu, 26, 
29 : conquered by Pegu, 33 : 
revolts, 41 : conquered, 42 : 

under Siamese rule, 53 : sub- 
ject to Burma, 56 : revolts 
and is subdued, 92 : town 
destroyed by British, 116 : 
captured by British, 123. 

Maung Maung, son of Naung- 
dawgyi, king of Ava, 86. 

Mejktila, lake at, 21, 98. 

Metkaya prince, 137. 

Migrations : 4, 6, 9. 

Min Bilu, 148. 

Min Bin, king of Arakan, 42 : 
repels Tabin Shwehti, 44, 149. 

Mindon Min : rebels against 
Pagan Min, 127 : rejects 
treaty, 128 : his reforms, 128 : 
crushes rebellions, 130 to 132 : 
treaty with Colonel Fytche, 
133 : intrigues with European 
powers, 134 : dies, 135 : his 
character, 135. 

Mingyi Swa Sawkd, king of Ava, 

Minhla-raza, general under 
Alaungpaya, revolts, 72. 

Min Khamaung of Arakan, seizes 
Syriam, 53 : attacks de Brito, 
55 : captured and ransomed, 
55 : in Bengal, 151. 

Min Khaung (1), king of Burma, 
33 : invades Arakan, 34 : at 
war with Pegu, 34 : peace, 34 : 
invades Pegu, 35 : at war with 
China, 35 : dies 35. 

Min Khaung- gyi, governor of 
Arakan, 90 : commands army 
of invasion in Siam, 91. 

Min Kyinyo, governor of Taungu, 
37 • repels Talaings, 40 : dies, 

Minmyabu, half-brother of Ba- 
gjddaw, general, 110, 111, 113 : 
superseded, 113. 

Min-re-deippa, governor of 
Zimme, 57 : king of Burma, 
57 : deposed, 57. 

Min-re-kyaw-swa, prince of 
Ava, 32 to 35. 

Min Saw Mun, king of Arakan, 
flees to Bengal, 148. 

Minshinsaw (1), 19, 20. 



Minshlnsaw (2), governor of 
Thayetmyo, captured by 
Arakanese, 148. 

Mintara, king of Ava, 37. 

Mintara Buddha Kethi, usurper 
in Pegu, 59 : abdicates, 60. 

Minthagyi, brother-in-law of 
Bagyidaw, 110, 113, 117 • exe- 
cuted, 118. 

Mogaung and Mohnyip, hostile 
to Burma, 38 : conquered by 
Bayin Naung, 48 : revolt, 50 : 
subject to Alaungpaya, 63 : 
ailnexed to Burma, 66. 

Mongols : conquer China, 24 : 
invade Burma, 24, 25. 

Monopolies, 131, 134, 141. 

Muddusitta, 10. 

Myatpon, the pretender, 87. 

Myat Tun, Maung, guerilla 
leader, 127. 

Myaungmya, rebels and is re- 
conquered, 33. 

Myedu Min. See Lauk, Maung. 

Myingondaing prince, 131. 

Myingun prince, 131, 141. 


Nagahsein, 10. 

Nanohao, 18. 

Nanda Bayin, son of Bayin 
Naung : on the Irawadi, 47 : 
in Siam, 49 : in Zimme, 
49 : king of Burma, 50 : 
crushes rebellion at Ava, 52 : 
invades Siam, 52 : deposed 
and killed, 63. 

Narabadi, king of Ava, 49. 

Narabadisithu, king of Pagan, 

Narathihapate, 24. See Tarok- 

Narathu, king of Pagan, 20. 

Nasruddin, the Mongol, invades 
Burma, 24. 

Natshin of Taungu, conquered 
by Maha Dhamma Eaza, 54. 

Naungdawgyi, son of Alaung- 
paya, 64 : becomes king, 

Nazir Shah of Bengal* 148. 

Negrais : British settlement, 

66 : massacre at, 70. 
Newiiibayin, general, 113. 
Nyaung Ok prince : rebels, 136 : 

invades Burma, 139. 
Nyaungyan prince : rebels, 136. 


0, Maung, see Minthagyi. 

Ok, Maung, governor of Pegu, 

121 : illtreats British subjects, 

121 : removed, 122. 

Padein Min ; rebels, captured 
and executed, 132. 

Pagan (old), foundation of, 11. 
See Tagaung. 

Pagan (new), foundation of, 13, 
15 : sacked, 25. 

Pagan Min : yegent, 120 : seizes 
throne, 120 : deposed, 127 : 
death, 127. 

Pagodas : Shwezigon. 18 ; at 
Pagan, 22 : Kaunghmudaw, 57. 

Panya ; founded, 28 : sacked, 

Pegu (Hanthawadi) : founded, 
14 : captured by Anawrahta, 
17 • revolts from Burma, 25 : 
attacks Prome, 30 : attacked 
by Siam, 30 : at war with 
Burma, ch. vi. : attacks Burma, 
38 : conquered by Taungu, 41 : 
sacked, 53 : revolts from 
Burma, 79: attacks Burma, 
80 : captured by British, 124, 
126 : annexed by British, 

Phayre, Sir Arthur, governor of 
Pegu, 126 : accompanies Bur- 
mese mission to Calcutta, 
128: envoyto Ava, 129 : chief 
cpmmissioner, 131. 

Phra Naret of Siam, 62 : iti- ' 
vades Pegu, 63 : makes war 
on Ava and dies, 64. 

Pong, kingdom of, 12. 

Portuguese : assist Talaings in 
Martaban, 41 : at Prome, 42 : 
at the court of Tabin Shwehti, 



44 : in Bayin Naung's army, 
48 : attack Bayin Naung's 
fleet, 50 : settlements in the 
East, 46, 54 : in Taking army, 
60 : in Arakan, 54, 149, 150. 

Price, American missionary, 113, 

Prome : foundation of, 12 : over- 
thrown, 13 : besieged by 
Talainga, 34 : conquered by 
Taungu, 42 : attacked by 
Talaings, 64, 65 : relieved 
by Alaungpaya, 65 : occupied 
by British, 111 : captured by 
British, 124, 125. 

Pru or Pyu, 9, 13. 

Pyi Min, 58, 59. 


Raj Guru, 112. 

Rangoon, 32 : captured by 
Alaungpaya, 62 : occupied by 
British, 102 : evacuated, 115 : 
finally captured, 123. 

Ratanapura. See Ava. 

Rathekyaung, king of Pagan, 16. 

Rathemyo, 12. 

Razadirit, king of Pegu, 30 : 
repels Burmese attacks, 33, 
34 : invades Burma, 34 : 
makes peace, 34 : besieges 
Prome, 35 : dies, 35. 

Razagyi, king of Arakan, 53, 
149 : relations with de Brito, 
54, 55, 149 : with Gonzales, 

Ribeiro, lieutenant of de Brito, 
54, 55. » 

Robertson, Civil oificer with 
Campbell, 112, 113. 

Sagaing, kingdom of, 28. 
Sak, 9, 13. 
Sakya Min, son of Bagyidaw, 

Salon, chief of Mohnyin, 38. 
Sat, Maung, Talaing rebel, 115. 
Sawbu, queen of Pegu, 39. 
Sawdi, king of Pagan, 16. 
Sawhanhpa. See Thohanbwa. 

Sawlu, governor of Taungu, 37, 

Sawrahan, king of Pagan, 16. 

Shah Shuja, refugee in Arakan, 

Shans : Introduction : invade 
Burma, 10 : tributary to Anaw- 
rahta, 18 : paramount in 
Burma, ch. v. : occupy Ava, 
37 : capture Prome and Ava, 
38, assist Ava against Bayin 
Naung, 48 : contingents at 
Prome, 112 : Shan women in 
battle, 112. 

Sheppard, 121. 

Shwe Lon, Maung, 124. 

Siam : conquers Tavoy and 
Tenasserim, 30 : invaded by 
Tabin Shwehti, 44 : invaded 
by Bayin Naung, 49 : by 
Nanda Bayin, 52 : by Alaung- 
paya, 71 : by Sinbyushin, 
73, 74 : independent, 83. 

Sinbyushin (1), king of Ava, 

Sinbyushin (2). jSee Lauk, Maung, 
king of Ava, 73 : subdues 
Ziinrae and Linzin, 73 : his 
armies invade Siam, 74 : and 
capture Ayuthia, 74 : invades 
Manipur, Kachar and Jaintia, 

83 : executes Byinnya Dala, 

84 : dies, 85. 

Singu Min, king of- Ava, 85 : 
deposed, 86 : killed, 87. 

Sladen, captain, British resi- 
dent in Amarapura, 132, 133. 

Sona, 14. 

Supayagyi, wife of Thibaw, 137. 

Supayalat, Thibaw's queen, 137 : 
her evil influence, 138. 

Steel, general, 127. 

Sulathambawa, 12. 

Symes' mission to Amarapura, 
94, 95. 

Ta, Maung, 124. 

Tabin Shwehti, king of Taungu, 
40 : attacks Pegu, 41 : king 
of Pegu, 41 : captures Mar- 



taban, 87 : captures Prome, 
42 : his cruelty, 42 : occupies 
Pagan, 44 : invades Arakan, 
44 : invades Siam, 44 : killed, 

Tagaung, 9 : sacked, 10. 

Taingda Mingyi, 143. 

Takayutbi, kjng of Pegu, 41. 

Talaings : Introduction : attack 
Prome, 13 : language reduced 
to writing, 15 : records de- 
stroyed, 17 : migrations to 
Siam, 52, 53 : capture Ava, 
60 : invade Burma, 63 : mas- 
sacre of, 65 : rebel against 
Bodawpaya, 88 : last insur- 
rection of, 115. 

Tarabya, king of Pegu, 26. 

Tarabya Sawk6. /See Mingyi Swa 

Taret, 10. 

Tarok, 10. 

Tarokpyemin, 24 : flees from 
Pagan, 25 : killed, 25. 

Tauugu : Introduction : Burmese 
governor appointed, 22, 36 : 
origin of name, 66 : becomes 
independent, 36 : repels Pe- 
guan attack, 37 : migration of 
Burmans to, 36, 37, 38 : at- 
tacked by Talaings, 40 : con- 
quers Pegu, 41 : conquers 
Prome, 41 : rebellion in, 73. 

Tavoy : conquered from Siam, 
29 : recaptured, 30 : captured 
by Alaungpaya, 69 : occupied 
by Siamese, 92 : reconquered, 

Tenasserim : taken from Siam, 
29 : recaptured, 30 : annexed 
by British, 114. 

Thado Dhamma Baza, king of 
Prome, 57 : king of Burma, 57. 

Thadominbya, governor of 
Tagaung, 29 : king of Sagaing, 
29 : founds Ava, 32 : dies, 32. 

Thadominsaw (1), brother of 
Bayin Naung,'king of Ava, 48 : 
revolts, 52 : dies, 52. 

Thadominsaw (2). See Lauk, 

Thameinsawdtit, usurper in Pegu, 
45 : killed, 47. 

Thameintaw Kama ; heads a 
rebellion in Pegu, 45 : con- 
quered by Bayin Naung, 47. 

Thamokdarit, 13 : founds new 
Pagan, 15. 

Tharawadi Min, at Danubyu, 
106: at Ava, 110, 113, 117: 
revolts, 117 : becomes king, 
118 : repudiates treaty of 
Yandabo, 119 : his cruelty, 
119: insanity, 120 : deposition, 
120 : death, 120. 

Tharekhettara, 12. 

Thaton, 12 : kingdom founded, 
13 : sacked, 17. 

Thet. See Sak. 

Thibaw, accession, 136 : plots 
against, 139 : state of Burma 
under his rule, 141 : intrigues 
with European powers, 141, 
142 : embassy to Simla, 141 : 
massacre of princes, 142 : 
dispute with Bombay-Burma 
Trading Corporation, 142 : 
deposed and exiled, 144. 

Thihapate, Burmese general, 
73 : captures Ayuthia, 74 : 
invades Zimme, 83. 

Thihathu (1), governor of Prome, 
25 28 

Thihathu (2), the Shan, 28: 
king at Panya, 36. 

Thihathu (3), brother of Bayin 
Naung, occupies Taungu, 45 : 
conquered by Bayin Naung, 

Thihathu (4), Burmese general, 
79, 80. 

Thinga Raza, founder of the 
Burmese era, 16. 

Thingkabo the Shan, 26. 

Thiusa, king of Arakan ; invades 
Burma, 34, 200. 

Thohanbwa of Mohnyin : be- 
comes king of Ava, 38 : assists 
Prome, 41, 42 : dies, 42. 

Thonba Wungyi, 104. 

Thupinya, last king of Prome, 13. 

Titha, king of Pegu, 15. 



Uriang Kadai, 24. 
Uttara, 14. 


Wareru, king of Pegu, 26 : 
death, 29. 

White House Stockade, 106, 124. 

Wolseley, Ensign, at Kyaukzin, 


Yandabo, treaty of, 114: re- 
pudiated by Tharawadi Min, 

Yule, Captain, member of mission 

to Amarapura, 130. 
Yunhli, prince of the Ming 

dynasty, 58, 59. 

Zawaw, king of Pegu, 29. 

Zeyakyaw, Burmese general, 84. 

'Zeyatheinkha, king of Pagan, 

Zeyathura. 8ee Newinbayin. 

Zimme, chief of, attacks Pegu, 
29 : conquered by Bayin 
Naung, 48 : revolts, 49. 


Stan-fbrd's Geog' Estohl, London 

London . Macmillan &. C Ltd. 

By S. W. cocks, M.A. 



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